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June 23, 2009updated Feb 13, 2013

Ferrari Take First Four Places in GT2 at Le Mans

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

An extraordinary result for the F430 GT at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: four Berlinette from Maranello on the first four places in the GT2 class at the end of the oldest and most prestigious endurance race in the world. Car number 82 from the Risi Competizione Team, driven by Jaime Melo, Mika Salo and Pierre Kaffer, was the first of the cars from Ferrari crossing the line – this was the 18th overall position with 328 laps driven. This is the second success in a row for Giuseppe Risi’s team at Le Mans with an “encore” in 2009 after the victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Place three was also gained by Risi with the team’s second F430 GT, driven by Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele. Between these two cars the BMS Scuderia Italia’s Ferrari with Fabio Babini, Matteo Malucelli and Paolo Ruberti came home. The “four-of-a-kind” was completed by the British team JMW Motorsport, with Robert Bell, Andrew Kirkaldy and Tim Sugden behind the wheel.

“I’m proud of this wonderful result. Four cars from Ferrari on the first four places in such a prestigious race is a great satisfaction and I want to congratulate the teams on the result; the teams have worked so hard to prepare the best way possible for this race. I especially want to thank Giuseppe Risi, who with his team has gained the second success in a row,” Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa said. “It was a tough race, especially at the beginning when the cars from Ferrari had to fight against very strong competitors like the Porsches. When night fell Risi’s car took over the lead and didn’t cede. I’m especially pleased by the fact that nine out of ten F430 GT which started into the race crossed the line; this is not only a sign of competitiveness, but also of the car’s great reliability.”

Another five cars from Ferrari can be found on the first ten places in their class (with only a Spyker under the top ten); there are cars from the AF Corse team (sixth with Gimmi Bruni, Luis Perez-Companc and Matias Russo), Team Modena (seventh with Leo Mansell, Pierre Ehret and Roman Rusinov), JMB Racing (eighth with Christophe Bouchut, Yvan Lebon and Manuel Rodrigues), Advanced Engineering (ninth with Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Don Jr Kitch) and Virgo Motorsport (tenth with Michael and Sean McInerney and Michael Vergers). The only Ferrari not crossing the line was the one from the Hankook-Farnbacher team (Alan Simonsen-Dominik Farnbacher-Christian Montanari); the car had to retire in the morning due to a mechanical problem.

In the end one should remember that a tiny bit of Ferrari can also be found in the overall win: Marc Gené, the official Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro test driver, sat behind the wheel of the Peugeot.

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