Connect with us



Toni Vilander files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

It seemed like deja-vu for us again, after another promising weekend and a likely podium finish taken away from us on the last lap.

I’m not sure what more there is to say but it’s been difficult to deal with, especially after recent strong runs for our Risi Competizione team.

The first part of the season we didn’t have great pace and we were finishing around fifth. But for the last three races, we’ve been more competitive but it always seems like something happens.

We’ve had at least three podiums slip away and that’s been the big disappointment.

It was my first time to Virginia International Raceway and what a great track it is.

There’s no run-off areas, a lot of high-speed corners and the new tarmac was giving a lot of grip, which was a really nice feeling.

I had a little off on Friday in Practice 2, and that didn’t help. It was my mistake and I just let the car go a little bit wide off line to the grass and hit the tire barriers.

The guys did an excellent job repairing the car and worked until midnight.There was never a question that we wouldn’t take part on Saturday or Sunday. The Risi team is really professional and top-notch guys.

Giancarlo qualified the car in fourth, which was the pace we were expecting, especially as he had been successful at VIR in the past.

He made a great start, getting around the BMW for third and ran strong in his first stint before our first stop, when I got in.

My stint was pretty OK. There was no major drama and I was able to pull more of a gap to the cars behind us, while trying not to make any mistakes. It was surprising to see so many drivers going off-course.

At the time of the pit stop, we had a clear gap to the car behind us and everything was looking good.

We decided to change drivers for a second time as we were confident we could do it without losing any time, so Giancarlo got back in.

Everything worked out fine, and we looked to be en route to a well-deserved podium finish, until the restart on the final lap, when the Porsche of Earl Bamber turned Giancarlo around.

It was extremely disappointing, but I don’t think it was just the question of this particular incident but the overall way they the race director has defined driving standards.

Being hit on the rear diffuser and right-rear tire for IMSA is an overtaking maneuver. They clearly want to see spectator things on TV.

Unfortunately the driving standards we now have can have bad consequences. I don’t agree with the current situation.

But we have to move on and our next race at Circuit of The Americas will be a big one for the team, which is based in Houston.

COTA has not been the best track for Ferrari in the past but I really like the track. We will have to work hard as always to get the most out of our car.

There’s two races to go and we need a good result. The target is to score the first win of the season in Texas, no doubt.

Toni Vilander (@Toni_Vilander) is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and 2014 FIA World Endurance GTE-Pro Champion, driving for Risi Competizione in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Click to comment

More in Commentary