Ferrari F430 Shows Its Natural Track Skills in Start of Racing Season

Mar 23, 2009, 15:10 ET from Ferrari North America

Powerful V8 Dominates ALMS Opener and Shows-off in the Ferrari Challenge Series Opener

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ferrari F430 opened strong in Florida over the weekend with dominant finishes in the season opener of the American Le Mans series at Sebring and fast paced action at the start of the Ferrari Challenge series at Homestead.

The 2009 ALMS series kicked off at Sebring, FL where the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Pierre Kaffer, Jaime Melo and Mika Salo won the GT2 class race in a dominant fashion - leading the season-opening Twelve Hours of Sebring from the second hour until the finish. Finishing eighth overall, they led home a Ferrari 1-2, and the team's Krohn Racing drivers Tracy W Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele rounded off an excellent day for both the team and Ferrari with a sixth place finish.

The #62 Ferrari's showing was all the more remarkable as it had started from the back of the grid at the start of the race. It took Mika Salo less than 50 of the 332 laps that the #62 Ferrari completed to get from it starting position of 10th to the head of the class. The win, Salo's 14th and Melo's 13th, was the second in three years for the pairing (following the record-breaking 2007 GT2 finish), and Kaffer's first on his debut with the team.

The Ferrari Challenge season, which utilizes race-prepared Ferrari F430s, got off to a competitive start in Homestead, FL with the 2008 favourites showing their strength in the 2009 season with some new faces threatening to steal the show. Leading the standing after the first weekend is Boardwalk Ferrari's Scott Tucker, who finished second in the 2008 Challenge series and who put in a strong performance capturing both race wins as well as a pole position over the weekend. A strong performance was also turned in by 2008 Rookie of the Year Mark McKenzie who scoring two podium finishes over the weekend, securing both a second and third place finish. 2007 Challenge champion Mike Zoi, returned to form and captured a second place finish on Sunday.

SOURCE Ferrari North America