The Risi Competizione team enjoyed a fine run in the Le Mans 24 Hours to secure a 1-3 finish in the GT2 class.
In a race dominated by the Ferrari teams, Pierre Kaffer, Jaime Melo and Mika Salo stormed to the class victory at the wheel of the #82 car, running without any major problems for the full 24 hours. Indeed, the only unscheduled stop for the car during the entire race was for new tyres as the sun rose on Sunday morning.
With the Porsche challenge falling by the wayside – none of the 997s entered in the race were classified – the Ferrari was left to face the challenge of the BMS Scuderia Italia and JMW Motorsport crews for long periods before taking the flag first for the second successive season.
“To be honest I didn't expect to see the Porsches out of the challenge from the first few hours,” Melo reflected at the finish. “Before the race we all though they were really strong, but I think Risi Competizione has really prepared well for this race in the past year as well as more recently.
“Pierre, Mika and myself were able to do really consistent lap times, and it was a really easy car to drive so that helped us to do our job. Like Mika said we had no problems. Tyre changes were perfect every time so we need to say thanks to Risi Competizione for those and to Michelin as well as we could triple stint the tyres from quite early on. “
The second car, entered in the traditional green of the Krohn Racing outfit, also enjoyed a trouble-free run in the hands of Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele and Krohn admitted he was thrilled with a second podium finish in three years.
“I bumped into Ron Fellows [former Corvette driver and now consultant] about midnight and after we'd chatted and just as I was leaving he said 'Tracy, keep it on the track',” he said. “To stand up there for the second time in three years is awesome; you're stunned and on top of that it's a very knowledgeable group of fans.
“Nine of the ten Ferraris finished – it's phenomenal and, absolutely, to be part of that in what is not just an endurance race, but rather a sprint race is humbling. You have to remember that we don't drive this car very often, the three of us. You couldn't have predicted what might happen...it's becoming pretty good.”
With his squad adding another La Sarthe trophy to its already impressive collection, team boss Guiseppe Risi was left understandably delighted with the result against strong opposition.
“This is a very special day; winning this again after what we did last year makes it even more so,” he said. “To have ten Ferraris here and have two of our cars placed in the top three is a simply magnificent result. These are the best teams in the world who race here, so it is extremely special to have achieved this outcome, and to have entered the history books as part of Ferrari's racing folklore. I can't say enough about it.”