RISI QUALIFIES ON SECOND AND FOURTH ROWS OF THE GT GRID AT ROAD AMERICA Today's GT qualifying session for the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series at the scenic and popular Road America track in Wisconsin was something of a lottery for...
RISI QUALIFIES ON SECOND AND FOURTH ROWS OF THE GT GRID AT ROAD AMERICA
Today's GT qualifying session for the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series at the scenic and popular Road America track in Wisconsin was something of a lottery for the Risi Competizione Ferraris with traffic and an ill-timed red flag playing a crucial part in the outcome.
Pierre Kaffer took the #61 Ferrari F430 GTC to third place in the highly competitive GT class, having completed just two flying laps and his fastest time of 2:06.997 was just four tenths of a second behind the pole-winning Corvettes of Oliver Gavin.
Jaime Melo qualified his #62 Ferrari in an uncharacteristic seventh place after coming across traffic on his first flying lap and then suffering with the red flag stoppage just as his tires were coming up to their optimum temperature ready for another attack. With just one second separating the top seven cars in class, it demonstrates just how tightly fought each place on the grid is. Risi Competizione and Ferrari are currently tied in first place with BMW Rahal Letterman Racing and BMW at the top of the Manufacturer and Team championship tables.
The practice sessions, and qualifying, have been heavily interrupted by red flags, meaning that track time has been at a premium for all the runners. Since practice sessions started at the 4.05 mile track on Friday, the Risi team has worked through a raft of changes to try and find a stable and fast platform for Sunday's 2 hour 45 minute race. The four drivers, who are all hugely experienced with the Ferrari 430 and at Road America, have spent long hours with their engineers discussing the various options available.
Pierre Kaffer: "I'm happy for the team that we could put a Ferrari on the second row of the grid. After the practice I was thinking that we could achieve a better lap time but unfortunately qualifying was so short because of the red flag in the middle. For me I only did two proper lap times and under these circumstances I'm happy. Of course, Michelin prepared tires that were just right, but we still have to make a few changes to the car again before tomorrow.
"I think we have improved our car every session, which you can see from our lap times, and Mika is also very comfortable in the car so I am confident for tomorrow's race. We just have to beat the Corvettes I guess! It won't be easy but for Ferrari I think it's a great opportunity to show everyone how competitive we are as a team."
Jaime Melo: "I missed maybe two or three tenths of a second on my quickest lap because of traffic, but I'm happy with the car. We improved it from this morning, and we got a better balance so I've got more confidence in the car. I'm just missing something around the track; I don't really know why I can't do the lap time but at least the car is better. I think we've improved the rear stability which for me is the main thing as it suits the way I drive, so it feels a very good race car. We will see, may be in the race we can get a better pace and try and gain some positions."