In an incredibly close GT qualifying session for tomorrow's final round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series, Risi Competizione's Pierre Kaffer raced the Ferrari F430 GT to a front row place on the grid. His time of 1:23.220 was just 0.167 seconds away from pole position which was claimed by Jan Magnussen's Corvette.

The Houston-based team worked through a programme of set up changes in today's two practice sessions to try and obtain the best possible balance for the car on this notoriously difficult track surface. With fluctuating temperatures and brisk winds, both Kaffer and his team mate Jaime Melo were both anxious to find a set up which would make the car both comfortable and fast, particularly through the challenging Corkscrew section.

Pierre Kaffer was happy with his afternoon's work: "It was my target to be on the front row today and I really have to thank Giuseppe Risi who trusted me for the final qualifying session of the year. It was a big honour for me to qualify here with the Ferrari.

"I have to say that the car felt pretty good. I am sure we could have had pole but I just hit traffic in the last corner. In the end I was really pleased with second so a big thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to do this today.

"The traffic was difficult at times, especially with the Challenge cars. I overtook one after the Corkscrew on the outside of the left hander, and it was the same lap time as my fastest lap time -- that was quite exciting! The front row is a good place to be to start the race tomorrow and hopefully we can bring it home in P1."

With just nine tenths of a second separating the top ten cars in the GT class after today's 20-minute session, it looks as though the four-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will live up to all expectations. The GT class has consistently produced some of the tightest and most exciting on-track battles throughout the year, with Risi triumphing in the flagship events at Sebring, Le Mans and Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta).

-credit: rc