|Circuit||Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Virginia
|Distance||441,960 km / 274,680 miles|
|458 Italia GT||F 142 GT xxxx||Team West/ AJR/ Boardwalk Ferrari||28. overall / 10. in class GT|
|458 Italia GT||F 142 GT xxxx||Risi Competizione||9. overall / 1. in class GT|
Maranello, 6 October – Victory at last! The 458 GT has had a tricky time in the American Le Mans Series this year, but the Maranello car has always shown it could compete at the highest level. At its ninth attempt, in the Oak Tree Grand Prix, held yesterday at the Virginia International Raceway, the Beretta-Malucelli pairing driving for Risi Competizione, took the class win they’ve been chasing since Road Atlanta in 2011.
The race was very closely contested and the outcome was only decided in the final 40 minutes, when Malucelli pulled off a handful of overtaking moves, especially one on Patrick Long in the Porsche, which put him in the lead. From then on, the Italian drove with authority and safely, taking a win that was as clear cut as it was well deserved. It was Malucelli’s first win in ALMS, while for the veteran Beretta, it was his 43rd in this series.
“I am proud of every single member of the Risi Competizione team,” said Giuseppe Risi. “Olivier and Matteo produced a perfect race, the engineers prepared the car to perfection and came up with a great strategy, while the mechanics once again proved to be the best in GT racing, not making a single mistake in the pits.”
“It was a great race,” added Beretta. “I am very happy for Risi and Matteo: it’s his first win and I hope we can go to the Petit Le Mans and win again. The 458 is a great car but we had problems in the first part of the season: it’s important for the team and Ferrari to have managed to win now.”
In his first season in this series, with this result Malucelli has finally confirmed the talent he has displayed repeatedly. “We never stopped working on the car and today everything was perfect, the team, the car and the Michelin tyres. We had a good pace, especially in the main part of the stint. Then, thanks to the tyres, I was able to go flat out and do some good passing moves: it was a really fun race.”
The race was less successful for the second 458 entered by the West Boardwalk Ferrari team, driven by Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, which had to stop after 67 laps and was classified tenth in class.
The final round of the ALMS championship takes place on 19 October at Road Atlanta, with the Petit Le Mans.