After a season filled with bad luck and misfortune, Risi Competizione’s luck finally turned around, as the Ferrari squad took a commanding GT class win in Saturday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway.
Matteo Malucelli and Olivier Beretta broke through for their first victory of the season, thanks to a late charge by the Italian, who passed the No. 06 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Patrick Long with 26 minutes to go.
From there, it was clear sailing for Malucelli, who took a 19-second win over the Long and Colin Braun-driven Porsche, which scored a season-best second place finish in class.
“We improved the car and had worked a lot after the bad races from the start of the season,” Malucelli said. “We were fast at COTA but had some problems. This time, the team, the car and the tires were perfect. We won, so I’m really happy.”
A third place finish for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia was enough to clinch the GT teams’ championship to Corvette Racing, as well as the manufacturers’ title for Chevrolet in the production-based ranks.
Dirk Mueller held off Tommy Milner for fourth in class, keeping the German’s driver title hopes alive heading into the series-ending Petit Le Mans in two weeks’ time.
Saturday’s two-hour and 45-minute race was highlighted by a frightening accident between the No. 31 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of Eduardo Cisneros and the Marco Holzer-driven No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Cisneros slammed heavily into an armco wall, flipping his Porsche, which landed right side up on top of the tire barriers. Both drivers walked away unscathed, including Cisneros, who was making his first ALMS start.
The accident set up a 38-minute run to the checkered flag.
GTC class honors for the second straight race went to the No. 66 TRG Porsche of Damien Faulkner and Ben Keating.
Faulkner held off the No. 22 Alex Job Racing entry of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil for the class win, with the No. 30 NGT Motorsport Porsche of Sean Edwards and Henrique Cisneros completing the class podium in third.
RESULTS: Oak Tree Grand Prix