In Thursday morning’s practice session, Pierre Kaffer caused a red flag for the #62 Ferrari F430’s participation when he went off at Turn 4 and crashed heavily into the tire barrier.  He made his way slowly back to the pits, and the car was then driven to the team’s trailer in the paddock.  After inspection, it was assessed that damage was fortunately not as bad as first feared.  The left side bodywork will require repair or replacement and the door will be replaced, but the car appears to be mechanically sound and the main structure of the chassis likewise.  The Risi Competizione mechanics, who always rise to any challenge thrown at them and at their best when on the back foot, will have the car back out for practice later today.

A devastated Kaffer said of the incident:  “I wish I could say what happened but honestly I don’t know.  I wasn’t going that fast, and I knew I was on cold tires, and it just got away from me.  This is not normally my style and I am so sorry for the team, especially for my team mates.  I am so disappointed, and I hope I can find out what happened. 

Although Gianmaria Bruni has driven with Jaime Melo on many occasions, the trio of Bruni/Kaffer/Melo has not raced together before.  As all drivers know, seat fittings and cockpit comfort are vital in endurance racing and, at the official Winter Test in February, Bruni struggled to get comfortable. 

“I was black and blue with bruises after the test,” said the Roman driver, “but we’ve managed to find a way to do it now.  I’ve raced in endurance events with Jaime three times before – Le Mans in 2008 and two times at the Spa 24 Hours – but here is more bumpy so the seat I used at Le Mans didn’t work so well.  Jaime and Pierre are exactly the same size but I am a bit taller so it’s a bit more difficult for me to find the right position but we have it sorted now.”

The successful Krohn Racing trio of Nic Jönsson, Tracy Krohn and Eric van de Poele are back together in the Risi-Krohn Ferrari for another endurance race.  They’ve enjoyed considerable success with the program, and Nic notes here what works so well for them.

“I think there are a number of reasons.  One is that the Risi Competizione-Krohn team prepares a fantastic race car. The platform of the Ferrari 430 GT2 is a very reliable one that has been around for the last 4-5 years and the car is very well developed.  They have done quite a few upgrades to the car this year from the engine aspect and aerodynamics, bigger tires and wheels and so forth. Hopefully the reliability will still be there.

“I also think that the experience of endurance racing helps,” continues the Georgia-based Swedish driver, “especially myself and Eric, who have been doing it a very long time.  We know that one lap pace has an impact on a 12 or 24 hour race. Of course you have to have somewhat of a decent pace to be able to run up front, but I think it is more about taking care of the equipment, make sure that all of the drivers are comfortable in the car.  You have to be forgiving and sacrifice for your teammate so you can get the best out of all three of us as a team.

“That’s something that has worked out really well for us the past few years with podium finishes at both Sebring and Le Mans. I think we’re going to carry on in the same fashion as we have in the past and not go out there and try to set the world on fire. We know that we are not running this car as a primary car for the full year but we benefit from the development that Risi does for the whole season.  Basically, we need to just be there, stay out of trouble, drive at a decent pace and hopefully we’ll be there at the end – on the podium again.”

Risi Competizione is a Houston-based Ferrari racing team lead by Managing Director Giuseppe Risi. Official team sponsors include Krohn Racing, Ferrari of Houston, Boardwalk Auto Group, Pennzoil, Motorola, AdShip and QT Technologies.

Courtesy ALMS © RIF