RISI TOPS THE QUALIFYING TIME SHEETS IN A DAY OF DRAMA Driving the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GTC, Gianmaria Bruni set the fastest time in the ever-competitive GT class today in readiness for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Mosport in ...
RISI TOPS THE QUALIFYING TIME SHEETS IN A DAY OF DRAMA
Driving the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GTC, Gianmaria Bruni set the fastest time in the ever-competitive GT class today in readiness for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Mosport in Ontario, Canada. It was, however, to turn out to be a bitter-sweet moment in a day of drama for the Houston-based team. Bruni's quickest lap of 1:17.160 -- his second class pole of the season -- was three tenths of a second faster than the No.45 Flying Lizard Porsche of Jörg Bergmeister.
Bruni's regular team mate, Jaime Melo, is unfortunately suffering from a stomach virus and unable to drive this weekend, and the team's enforced driver change means that Bruni and new Mosport team mate, Toni Vilander, will have to start the race from the back of the grid.
Melo was visited at his hotel this morning by Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi, and Ferrari's Corse Clienti representative, Maurizio Nardon, to assess his condition and, when they returned to the Mosport track, Vilander was given the news of his new seat for the weekend.
That Vilander was available to make the change was in itself another chapter in a day of incidence. In the first practice session of the day this morning, Germany's Pierre Kaffer had heavy crash into the barriers between Turns 1 and 2 which substantially damaged the chassis of the No. 61 Ferrari. While it will be possible to repair the car in time for the final round of the ALMS Championship, it wasn't viable to do that at the track and the car was withdrawn from the race at 2:00 pm. Kaffer was taken to the Lakeridge Health hospital in Bowmanville for precautionary checks and observations, but was later released. Although sore and stiff from the accident, Kaffer was pleased to be back at the track to see his team.
Pierre Kaffer: "First of all I am really sorry for the car 61 mechanics and the whole Risi Competizione team. My engineer Roland Wall and all the mechanics had done such a great job on the car and it was really fast this morning, just like Toni showed it was at Mid Ohio.
"When the accident happened this morning, although I was fast I was not on the limit. Everything was under control. At the exit from the corner which enters the little short straight between Turns 1 and 2, the rear floor of the car hit the ground and the car got upset and snapped into the barriers.
"It was quite harsh and very sudden. I didn't expect it at that point as the car was really good as our lap times would have showed."
Gimmi Bruni: "For qualifying, our engineer, Rick [Mayer] made a last minute change just after the practice session and we went in the right direction. We did a good job although I think it could have been better as, for the first few laps I was caught behind a GTC car. I can enjoy driving the car now and not worry about oversteer or understeer or anything else, and so am very happy. I like this track because it is very smooth and fast and is one of my favorite tracks; you need to have a very good car and a perfect combination of tires and set up which we have.
"Starting from the back means that we will drive to get the best result we possibly can and as many points as we can for Ferrari and for Risi Competizione in the Team's and Manufacturers' Championships. To be honest I'm not thinking about my championship opportunities at the moment, I'm just thinking about how I can get past those 15 cars to win tomorrow and I hope to have a good clean race, no matter where we finish.
"The best moment of the day was not really this afternoon's time, but to see that Pierre was okay when he got back to the track. That was the most important point of the day."