Fisichella, Kaffer Lead Ferrari To VIR Victory

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Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella scored a thrilling victory for Ferrari Sunday at Virginia Int'l Raceway. (Richard Dole/LAT Photo)
Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella scored a thrilling victory for Ferrari Sunday at Virginia Int'l Raceway. (Richard Dole/LAT Photo)
Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella scored a thrilling victory for Ferrari Sunday at Virginia Int’l Raceway. (Richard Dole/LAT Photo)

ALTON, Va. – The drama of the closing laps was not lost on winning GT Le Mans (GTLM) class driver Giancarlo Fisichella in Sunday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix, part of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Virginia Int’l Raceway.

“That was maybe one of the best races of my life,” said Fisichella, who was able to execute a final-lap pass against Wolf Henzler’s Porsche, after pulling door-to-door but failing to get by on each of the previous three laps.

It was the second consecutive victory in GTLM for Fisichella and Kaffer, who won two weeks ago at Road America.

“The last four laps I did everything I could do,” Fisichella said. “I knew it was the last lap and I did all I could, braking for turn 11. I was lucky because I had a good exit (but) I was quicker than him in the straight and it was very correct to be on the right-hand side. I made sure to be leading at the exit of Turn 12. It was very nice, fighting with Henzler, and a good end for us.”

A full-course caution that provided a restart with six-and-a-half minutes left in the two-hour, 45-minute race proved a double-edged sword for Henzler and teammate Bryan Sellers.

The drivers of the Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 had built a lead of more than 12 seconds but were running short on fuel. When Michael Christensen’s Porsche went off course, it gave Team Falken the chance to conserve but wiped out their advantage in creating the four-lap shootout.

“Finally, I had nothing against him,” Henzler said. “I didn’t want to be unfair. I had to open the door and finally let him by. He had a good exit off the Oak Tree Turn (turn 12) and I didn’t want to go left–to-right. I took my line, hoping maybe we could stay next to each other. It was a good fight. Sometimes, you have to take a chance (on fuel).”

His teammate had no qualms with attempts to conserve fuel or how the finish came down.