Road Atlanta: Risi Competizione qualifing report

Risi Competizione's Brazilian driver Jaime Melo was at his brilliant best in today's 25-minute qualifying session, taking his Ferrari 430 GT to pole position in the GT2 class for tomorrow's 1000 Mile/10 Hour (whichever comes first) Petit Le Mans...

Risi Competizione's Brazilian driver Jaime Melo was at his brilliant best in today's 25-minute qualifying session, taking his Ferrari 430 GT to pole position in the GT2 class for tomorrow's 1000 Mile/10 Hour (whichever comes first) Petit Le Mans race.

Melo eclipsed his pole time of 2007 by over two seconds, setting a new qualifying lap record with a time of 1:19.399 on his last flying lap. It is his 12th career pole position in the American Le Mans Series.

Buford, Georgia-based Nic Jonsson qualified the #61 Krohn green Ferrari 430 in 6th place, making it an excellent result for the Prancing Horse; four of the top six GT2 cars are Ferraris.

With a full field of 38 cars, including 20 prototypes, there have been incidents aplenty in the four official practice sessions run in the lead up to Saturday's 1000 Mile (or 10 Hours, whichever comes first) race. Both Risi Competizione cars have been fortunate to escape unscathed, although the lack of track time due to red flag interruptions has caused some frustration.

Giuseppe Risi, Team Principal, commented after qualifying: "I'm pleased with what we've achieved so far, and everyone has performed very well. We've worked hard to get two race cars which are not only fast and well balanced but also comfortable for all our drivers. It will be an extremely interesting, and no doubt exciting, race tomorrow."

Jaime Melo, qualifying driver, #62: "I am really happy with pole position because Petit Le Mans is very important for us, especially after the season we've had. We missed out on a good result last year so we're working really hard to be on the top of the podium this time.

"In the qualifying I got traffic on the first three laps so I eased up and waited to get a clear space to do a quick lap. To be honest, I expected the gap between us and the Porsche to be a little bit more as yesterday we were ahead of everyone by a reasonably big margin on old tires. But, when I came into the pits, I thought it would be enough to be on pole. The track was more slippery compared with yesterday and this morning but the balance was the same.

"We worked hard to get the same balance and grip that we found in the test a few weeks ago and, as I've said before, we have a great team at Risi Competizione. Everyone has been really positive which is important and I want to say thank you very much to my race engineer, Rick, [Mayer]. I like him so much, and he works really well with me."

Nic Jonsson, qualifying driver, #61: "This is the first time I've qualified this car in a long time...since Le Mans. We haven't really had enough track time to get the car completely where we want. This morning, although it was an hour session, I think we got 8 or 9 laps in because of all the red flags so we're still a little behind as far as set-up goes. We didn't test last weekend like a lot of teams did and, from that point of view, I think we should be pretty pleased with 6th place.

"We just have to have a clean race tomorrow, be safe and not do anything stupid and make sure we use our heads. If there are people in the race who want to push it the first couple of hours, let them do it; with a ten hour race you need to be there at the end and play it smart, stay out of trouble. We plan to do that and I think we're going to have a very good finish tomorrow."

-credit: Risi Competizione

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Jaime Melo , Nic Jonsson
Teams Risi Competizione