The 65 laps of racing through the streets of Long Beach, California today unfortunately failed to deliver the dividends hoped for by the Houston-based Risi Competizione team.

In the very close and competitive GT class, the #62 Ferrari F430 GT finished in fourth place behind the winning Flying Lizard Porsche of Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. The valuable points gained for this position does, however, keep Risi Competizione and its drivers, Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni, at the head of the GT points’ tables – now level with Bergmeister and Long.

Starting from class pole position in the 36-car strong field, Jaime Melo was squeezed on the first lap at the hairpin and was forced to cede the lead to the Falken Porsche of Wolf Henzler. He explained what happened from his viewpoint: “On the first lap the problem was with the LMPC prototypes; it was a bit of a mess and there was a bit of paint exchanged between a few cars. The #17 Porsche got me at Turn 11 and was then holding me up. We just couldn’t get close enough in the last corner to get past him on the straight.”

Melo continued to run in second place until the end of the first safety car period when, capitalizing on a great start at the green flag, he got past Henzler. He goes on to explain how the positions changed again: “The second yellow came very quickly. We were side by side and I lifted at the yellow and he overtook me. We then had to follow him in second place, even though we were quick and he was officially warned for blocking us.”

Gimmi Bruni took over the wheel of the Ferrari during the team’s only pit stop which took place under the third of the three full course caution periods. Unlike all 11 of the smooth pit stops which the team carried out at the last race, the 12 Hours of Sebring, this one was very slightly, but critically, delayed.

Team Manager David Sims explained what happened. “We moved an outside wheel out of the way of the #90 BMW which was right behind us and, for the safety of our crew, we didn’t let the car go so we lost a couple of seconds. We also got hit towards the end of the race by an LMP car which has broken one of our rear wheels and this slowed us right down.”

Gianmaria Bruni continued to the checkered flag, fighting the damage and said afterwards: “We started on pole but had some issues at the pit stop and went down a few places. I managed to pass Joey Hand in the #90 BMW but was hit by an LMPC in Turn 10 about 7 or 8 laps to the end and we lost the podium place. We were very slow in the corners after that and it was a disappointing way to end up.”