|Circuit||Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
|Distance||436,387 km / 271,216 miles|
|458 Italia GT||F 142 GT xxxx||Team West/ AJR/ Boardwalk Ferrari||32. overall / 11. in class GT|
|458 Italia GT||F 142 GT xxxx||Risi Competizione||23. overall / 10. in class GT|
At Road America it was a race of two halves for the Houston-based Risi Competizione team but unfortunately the #62 Ferrari 458 Italia, which was running as high as 2nd in the first half of the race, suffered from unwarranted contact from a GT car in the second half. After a trip into the Turn 3 gravel trap one hour and 35 minutes into the race, any chance of a good result was negated and Risi was classified in 10th place at the finish.
Matteo Malucelli took the green flag at the start in wet conditions after several hours of rain prior to the race. The Italian made a storming start and rose to 3rd place by the third lap around the 4.05 mile circuit – the Ferrari running extremely well in the, by now, damp and rapidly drying conditions.
A pivotal moment in the first half of the race came when a good call for slick Michelin tires was made one lap after most of the remainder of the GT field had pitted, the additional time on track allowing it to dry out a little more. The timing also worked in strategic favour of having to make just one further pit stop before the finish. The team West Car of Leh Keen and Townsend Bell finished 11th in class.
– Ferrari remains at the lead of Rolex Sports Car Series manufacturer championship
– Ferrari 458 Italias from Scuderia Corsa and R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport dominate first half of Orion Energy Systems 245
– Leh Keen and Ken Wilden each lead race-high 20 lapsElkhart Lake, Wisc. (August 10, 2013) – At the conclusion of a wild GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at the challenging Road America circuit, Jeff Segal would lead the charge of the bright red Ferraris as he brought the no. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia across the checkered in fourth place.A short distance behind was the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia of Alessandro Balzan and the no. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia of Anthony Lazzaro. After Ferrari 458 Italias led the race’s opening stages, a late-race caution would leave the cars battling for position in the mid-pack. But on the strength of those results, Ferrari maintains the lead in the Rolex manufacturer championship for Grand Touring, with 275 points.
Segal’s run to fourth was helped by the performance by his teammate, Ken Wilden, who was substituting for Max Papis. Wilden battled forward after starting fifth, leading twenty laps before turning the car over to Segal. Opting for a conservative fuel strategy, Segal’s team stopped for fuel while the race was under caution in the final stages, and he would ultimately bring the Ferrari home in fourth place.
“We wanted to win two in a row after winning two weeks ago in Indianapolis – we wanted to keep that momentum going, and I think we still have positive momentum,” said Segal. “We beat a couple of cars that we shouldn’t have, and that is a nice feeling, but we were watching guys drive away from us in a straight line and that hurts. Kenny did a great job at Indianapolis, and he’s been very laid back and easy to get along with here at Road America. And in the race when it was time to go fast, he turned up the wick. It was really cool to see him lead those laps. It’s a shame that we couldn’t hang onto the win, but Kenny did a great job.”
After starting from pole position, Leh Keen led the first twenty laps of the race in the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia before his first pit stop. Although Balzan would later lead the race as well, he would finish sixth, but made up ground in the driver championship to the second-placed car.
“The Ferrari was working really well in the beginning of my stint,” said Balzan. “I was really happy with it on fresh tires, and the balance was really good. But in the last caution period, we fueled the car but did not change tires, so after the restart we had tires with a lot of laps and I could not really defend myself or improve on my position. All my driving time was with the same tires. Looking at the championship, we gained a lot of points, which is positive. Leh did a great job at the beginning of the race, he’s a big help for me and the team as we are in contention for the championship.”
Just behind Balzan was the no. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia of Emil Assentato and Anthony Lazzaro. Lazzaro would wheel the Ferrari home in seventh despite an off-road excursion caused when he hit oil in Road America’s turn seven.
“That was a big sideways moment through the grass,” said Lazzaro. “Dirt, gravel, gas, braking, upshifting, downshifting, everything – using all the controls. The team put on four sticker tires in the last pit stop on the Ferrari and I think that was the right call. If I would have had better track position, we would have walked away, because we were fast.”
Former Ferrari Challenge champion Chris Ruud, from nearby Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and teammate Craig Stanton would have a difficult day in the no. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia. After having to go back to the team trailer for repairs, the duo would finish the race in 11th position.
Balzan retains his third position in the GT driver championship with 244 points, eleven points behind leaders John Potter and Andy Lally, and four points behind second-placed Robin Liddell and John Edwards. Assentato and Lazzaro are fourth with 239 points. Scuderia Corsa and AIM Autosport Team FXDD remain third and fourth in the GT team championship.
The next round of the Rolex Sports Car Series will be August 17 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. The race will be shown live at 8:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 2, with a re-air on August 18 at 4:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 1.