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Risi Ferrari the "serial bridesmaid" after Watkins Glen runner-up finish

The Risi Competizione team feels like the “serial bridesmaid” after coming close to GTD Pro victory in Sunday’s IMSA SportsCar Championship race at Watkins Glen, according to engineer Rick Mayer.

#62 Risi Competizione, Ferrari 488 GT3, GTD PRO: Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon

#62 Risi Competizione, Ferrari 488 GT3, GTD PRO: Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon

Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

After qualifying third for the penultimate Michelin Endurance Cup event of the year, Ferrari World Endurance Championship regulars Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra showed rapid pace in the team's #62 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.

After grabbing the lead from the #25 RLL BMW M4 GT3 of John Edwards, Connor de Phillippi and Augusto Farfus with two hours to run, Serra had stretched out a lead of nearly 20 seconds when the race had to be red-flagged according to government regulation following lightning in the area.

When the action resumed with 21 minutes remaining, Serra held on to his position against the chasing pack, but a first IMSA victory for Risi since 2019 went begging when the Brazilian had to bring the car to the pitlane for a late splash-and-dash.

The extra pitstop dropped the #62 crew to third at the finish behind the #25 BMW and Heart of Racing Aston Martin, but it was later promoted to second when the #25 BMW was penalised for a driving time infraction.

It marked the Risi team's second runner-up finish of the year, having also finished second in the season-opening Daytona 24 Hours following a clash between the two leading Porsche cars on the final lap.

Risi has only competed in the three IMSA enduros so far this year, taking a class pole at the Sebring 12 Hours only for a power steering issue to drop it to ninth.

Race engineer Rick Mayer said: “It was a challenging weekend with a very condensed schedule, very little down time for the crew.

“We rolled off with a good car and improved it through the two sessions. We didn’t have the fastest car this weekend, but luck went our way and the drivers did an exceptional job and the pit stops were flawless. 

“We just ended up about three laps short on fuel after the red flag restart. It seems we are serial bridesmaids.”

#23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3: Ross Gunn, Alex Riberasz, #62 Risi Competizione, Ferrari 488 GT3, GTD PRO: Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R: Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet

#23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3: Ross Gunn, Alex Riberasz, #62 Risi Competizione, Ferrari 488 GT3, GTD PRO: Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R: Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Factory Ferrari driver Serra lamented the timing of the red flag that wiped out a sizeable lead for the Risi team, but praised the squad for overcoming the 488 GT3’s straightline speed deficit over its rivals.

“I think we were a bit unlucky with the red flag,” rued Serra.

“Unfortunately, they stopped the clock during the red flag, and we then had to do one more stop and some of the other competitors didn’t. 

“Anyway, I think the team did a great job. They executed everything perfect, and the car was good. It was tough to race because we did not have the straight-line speed to fight or overtake the others. 

“We were quick in the corners but were probably the slowest on the straight-line speed. The team did well, and Davide did a really good job and now I think we need to start thinking about the next one.”

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