Risi Competizione’s Matteo Malucelli drove the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia to his first ALMS GT pole position today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, awarding the Houston-based team the perfect start position for tomorrow’s four-hour race. The race begins at 3:30pm (PT) and will run into dusk.
After returning to the ALMS after a year out of competition, it is Risi’s third pole position from the three rounds so far in the 2013 American Le Mans Series. Gianmaria Bruni claimed class pole at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
The Italian comes to California fresh from a GTE victory in the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, in another Ferrari 458 Italia, and his confidence is high. Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi, recognized the good job done by Malucelli and said after the session: “I’m delighted for Matteo, who’s already done a very good job for us here in the US. It’s our second pole in three races after Sebring so hopefully we can carry this performance forward.”
After chasing some balance and stability issues in the test session yesterday and today’s two one-hour practices, Malucelli and his team mate Olivier Beretta are both satisfied that they’ve got a good set up for the tricky Californian track. As each session has concluded, the car has got faster and faster.
Twenty-eight-year-old Matteo Malucelli, who comes from Forli, a town near Bologna in Italy, said of his pole position: “It was fantastic for me as it was my first qualifying and my first pole in ALMS. Laguna is a difficult track so I’m really happy and want to say thank you to the Risi team and Michelin as the car was really good. For sure we have the best position for the race tomorrow and will fight for the win.
“For the first half hour on Thursday it was quite difficult adapting to the track as it was my first time here and there were many cars; I had to watch the mirrors a lot but after that first 30 minutes it was okay. It’s a bit slower than I expected but so far everything is going well and we will now see what happens tomorrow.”