Jaime Melo and Mika Salo produced a stunning fight back in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta to secure GT2 hours for the Risi Competizione team.
Melo had led the opening hour at the wheel of the #62 Ferrari 430 but mechanical problems led to a number of additional pit stops and saw the car drop down to twelfth in class and two laps behind the leaders.
However, the Brazilian kickstarted the fight back as he stormed through to second place by the middle of the fifth hour and had set about chasing down the leading Flying Lizard Porsche for victory.
Salo also ran strongly as he continued the battle for victory and the pair were able to take the lead and then hold on to the flag to secure GT2 honours.
“I'm really happy to win this race,” Melo said. “When we got the problem we were right back and I thought that the only thing I could do was to push the maximum and don't make any mistakes and that's what I did. The team, as always, did a really great job and the Michelin tires were very consistent so we had a car that was easy to drive, comfortable and always on the pace. It's been a tough year; we won Le Mans and now Petit Le Mans so that's good for the team and for us all. It gives us more confidence for the future.”
The sister car, back in Krohn Racing colours for the weekend and with Nic Jonsson, Tracy Krohn and Eric van de Poele on driving duties, took the flag in fourth place to cap a fine race for Guiseppe Risi's team.
“This is a very special moment for me here at Petit Le Mans,” he said. “We won the first Petit outright in a Ferrari 333 and ten years after we now win it again after having also captured the 24 Hours of Le Mans. What also makes it special is that our other car is right up there in fourth place and that there are four Ferraris in the top five. It's a very special day for Ferrari and I want to thank everybody involved for making this possible.”