RISI FRONT ROW START IN UTAH It could not have been any closer, or any more exciting, for everyone watching and listening to today's qualifying session for Sunday's two hour, 45-minute long Utah Grand Prix. The time of 1:47.135 set by...
RISI FRONT ROW START IN UTAH
It could not have been any closer, or any more exciting, for everyone watching and listening to today's qualifying session for Sunday's two hour, 45-minute long Utah Grand Prix.
The time of 1:47.135 set by Risi Competizione's Jaime Melo was identical - to a thousandth of a second - to that set by Flying Lizard Motorsport's Wolf Henzler. The German Porsche driver was, however, awarded pole position as he posted the time earliest in the session. Austrian Patrick Friesacher recorded his best time of the weekend so far, 1:48.330, to place his Ferrari 430 GT in 6th place on the GT2 grid.
The Brazilian driver, now a resident of Houston, TX, was, in the words of Dave Sims, Risi Competizione's Team Manager, "Unbelievable. To bring a lap like that out of the bag was a really amazing bit of driving -- he's quite something."
2006 race winner, Melo, had placed his Rosso red Risi Ferrari in fourth position earlier in the 20-minute qualifying session, but he was not yet satisfied with what he had achieved. After coming into the pits for a small adjustment to the car, Melo went out on track again with three minutes left to run on the clock. On Michelin tires that had already completed eight laps, he drove the lap of his life and -- had it not been for a big power slide coming out of The Attitudes area of the track -- he would have claimed pole position; the sector times show that Melo was the fastest car from Turn 7 to the start/finish line. As it was, he will be starting on the front row of the GT2 grid with an excellent chance for race success.
Jaime Melo said afterwards, "I didn't have anything else to put in; I gave it everything and took as many risks as I could without damaging the car. I didn't expect to be that fast, to be honest; the Porsche is very strong on a straight line. We made a few changes to the car before the last practice session and that definitely helped me. Looking at where we started the weekend, this result is okay and I am more confident about the car for the race than I was for qualifying."
Former F1 pilot, Patrick Freisacher, was also able to make the best of his tires late in the session and has profited from the prior Miller Motorsports Park experience that his team mate, Harrison Brix, had brought to the pairing. "It wasn't so bad for my first time here. In the beginning we struggled to bring the tires up to temperature; normally your quickest time is set on either the 4th or 5th lap but here each lap was getting better and better. My ninth lap was my quickest but I ran out of fuel so didn't get to finish the lap... I think we are going to be strong tomorrow so I am quite happy."
The Official Sponsors of Risi Competizione, 2006 and 2007 ALMS GT2 Team Champions, are Boost/Motorola, Michelin, Freescale, Ferrari of Silicon Valley, Ferrari Financial Services, Boardwalk Autogroup, Delphi and Ferrari of Houston.
The Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels is set for Sunday, May 18 from Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The green flag is scheduled for 1:00 pm MT with live television coverage on SPEED. International TV coverage is on Motors TV - live on May 18 beginning at 8:00 pm (UK), 9:00 pm CET (Central European Time). Live radio coverage will be available on XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 and American Le Mans Radio at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring.