POLE BUT NO CIGAR Risi Competizione's Jaime Melo convincingly clinched his second consecutive GT2 ALMS pole position this afternoon on the streets of Long Beach, steering the ...
POLE BUT NO CIGAR
Risi Competizione's Jaime Melo convincingly clinched his second consecutive GT2 ALMS pole position this afternoon on the streets of Long Beach, steering the #62 Ferrari F430 to a best time of 1:20.111 -- 2.5 tenths of a second quicker than his nearest rival.
Post qualifying technical inspection, however, found that the car's ride height was marginally too low and the car will be forced to start from the back of the grid.
Despite a short red-flag stoppage in a 25-minute session which was full of tension and close racing, Melo was able to reel off a string of flying laps -- the last of which was good enough to secure pole position. Close competition was expected and came from the Porsches of both Farnbacher Loles and Flying Lizard Motorsports although Melo always held the advantage.
[Before learning of the car's disqualification from qualifying] Melo said: "Actually I didn't expect to be that quick after my first run. I did a 20.8 which was a good time and then the red flag came out so I thought I could cool down the tires a little bit and try again.
"The car was getting better and better all the time. To be honest if I'd done one more lap I could have done a bit better but I didn't want to take the risk with the car or the tires. I'm happy. We did a little change during the session to the front bump and that helped the car over the kerbs.
"Pierre is also happy with the car and can now really drive it the way he wants to, the way it suits him. We are both confident in and comfortable with the car."
Risi Competizione has won several races from the back of the grid, most recently the 12 Hours of Sebring, but the team is under no illusion that in just 100 minutes of racing tomorrow, on a street course, the task will be challenging. Melo, however, is never better than when faced with just such a challenge. The race is on.
Risi Competizione is a Houston-based Ferrari racing team lead by Managing Director Giuseppe Risi. Official team sponsors include Motorola, Boardwalk Auto Group, AdShip, Ferrari of Beverly Hills, Ferrari Financial Services and Ferrari of Houston.
Tomorrow's race will be the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach on the Long Beach, California street course. The green flag is scheduled for 4:15p.m. PT and ABC Sports will televise the race taped delayed on Sunday, 20th April from 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM EST (Eastern Standard Time). Outside the USA, Motors TV will broadcast taped delayed coverage on Sunday, 19th April beginning 6:00 PM CET (Central European Time). Live Timing & Scoring and American Le Mans Radio can be found at the new americanlemans.com.