RISI COMPETIZIONE FERRARI F430GT WILL START FROM POLE POSITION AT LAGUNA SECA THIS AFTERNOON Monterey, California. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - Mika Salo, who previous drove F1 cars for Ferrari, got behind the wheel of the Risi Competizione...
RISI COMPETIZIONE FERRARI F430GT WILL START FROM POLE POSITION AT LAGUNA SECA THIS AFTERNOON
Monterey, California. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - Mika Salo, who previous drove F1 cars for Ferrari, got behind the wheel of the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430GT yesterday and took the pole in GT2 qualifying at the historic, twisty Laguna Seca track with a 1:23.611 lap. This time was over two seconds ahead of the lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (1:26.042). A pair of Porsches took second and third in qualifying, with times of 1:24.140 (Mike Rockenfeller, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR/Alex Job Racing) and 1:24.299 (Joerg Bergmeister, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR/Petersen/White Lightning). The stablemate No. 61 Ferrari from R.Ferri Competizione/Ferrari Silicon Valley was fourth in qualifying with a 1:24.370 time. Salo will be paired with Stephane Ortelli in today's (Saturday) four hour ALMS finale, the Monterey Sports Car Championship.
Salo's effort yesterday marked the sixth time this season that the Risi Competizione No. 62 Ferrari was on the pole; the No. 61 Ferrari F430GT took the pole at Lime Rock (7 total pole in 10 total races for Risi Competizione in 2006).
"We're pleased with the result," said Team Manager Dave Sims yesterday. "Mika has delivered all season and today was no exception. We counted on him to bring us a podium in Houston and to take us to first at Utah and in Portland. Today, we wanted the pole and Mika delivered. Stephane Ortelli, who won at Mosport in the Ferrari, delivered a win when we really needed it. Andrea Bertolini and Maurizio Mediani in the No. 61 car captured fourth, so we have a pair of Ferraris bracketing a pair of Porsches. It's going to be a terrific battle."
Going into today's race, Risi Competizione has a six point lead over Flying Lizard Motorsports and a 10 point advantage ahead of the Petersen/White Lighting outfit in the Teams' Championship in the GT2 category Team Managing Director Giuseppe Risi previously characterized the 10th and deciding race in the 2006 American Le Mans Series as a race in which each lap was "like a round in a heavyweight fight". Asked about the pole position, Risi responded that "we have raced all season to get to this point. I am proud of our drivers, our techs, and our team; and especially grateful to our sponsors for their support throughout the year. Michelin has given us great tires all years and our drivers have pushed hard all year. We have gone head to head with Porsche and Panoz all year and they have been, as always, superb competitors. GT2 has provided the closest racing in the ALMS series all year and this weekend will be no exception. This one should be a classic and we're just pleased to be a part of it."
Risi Competizione has a chance to win the teams' championship in ALMS GT2 for Ferrari for the first time. The team has already delivered new records for Ferrari in the area of poles and fastest laps; it also delivered Ferrari's first 1-2 finish (at Mosport).