04 gennaio 2018
Maranello, 4 January 2018 - It is never easy to win a top championship, but to do so again the following year is even trickier. However, this was what Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan pulled off with the 488 GT3 of Scuderia Corsa after an uphill battle all season. Forced to retire together with Sam Bird when in sight of victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona, Nielsen and Balzan made consistency their strongpoint. With Matteo Cressoni joining them for Sebring, Watkins Glen and the Petit Le Mans races, their four second places (Sebring, COTA, Detroit, and Watkins Glen) and two thirds (Long Beach and Mosport Park) say a lot about the performance levels of the crew car no. 63. They topped off their title with a win in the penultimate race of the season at Laguna Seca. Given other driver’s results this victory virtually sealed the championship for Christina and Alessandro, who just needed to start in the Petit Le Mans to wrap it up. At Daytona pole position went to the other 488 GT3 of Spirit of Race, crewed by Alessandro Pier Guidi, Peter Mann, Davide Rigon, Maurizio Mediani and Rino Mastronardi, which was forced to retire early on due to a technical fault.
From a near win at the 24 Hours of Daytona to the bitter taste of four races out after an extremely unfortunate 24 Hours of Le Mans, Risi Competizione endured a difficult year. In the Florida marathon, drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, joined by James Calado, were in a position to win as the race entered the closing stages but had to settle for third place. They achieved a similar result at the 12 Hours of Sebring, in the second round of the season. After two retirements at Long Beach and COTA the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione turned up at the 24 Hours of Le Mans hoping to repeat and if possible improve upon the second place of 2016. However, Fisichella, Vilander and Pierre Kaffer were out of the race before sunset when the prototype driven by Matthieu Vaxivière knocked car no. 82 into the barriers. In the aftermath of the accident the Houston team had to miss four races before returning to the track at Virginia International Raceway where they came third. Fisichella and Vilander were second at Laguna Seca, finishing in the slipstream of the winners, while at the Petit Le Mans they notched up another third place with Alessandro Pier Guidi as a third driver. They recorded five podiums and two retirements in seven races, but it was still a half-season that left a bitter taste.