The stunning chrome-coloured No.30 Ferrari 458 Italia was qualified this afternoon by the team’s newest recruit, 2013 ALMS GT Champion Jan Magnussen.
European Le Mans Series GTE Champion Ram Racing has put itself in good shape for tomorrow’s Dunlop-sponsored 24 Hours Dubai by qualifying in the top six amid a highly competitive field. The year’s first major international endurance race will see a grid of 79 cars take the start at 2:00 pm tomorrow (local time, +4 hours GMT).
The stunning chrome-coloured No.30 Ferrari 458 Italia was qualified this afternoon by the team’s newest recruit, 2013 ALMS GT Champion Jan Magnussen. The Dane had two runs at pole position in a 30-minute session for the faster GT3 cars in the field, and set a best lap of 1:58.402 to claim 6th place on the grid, the highest-placed Ferrari in the field. Pole position was taken by the V8 Racing Corvette C6.R.
After reeling off a number of quick laps in the 1:58 zone, Magnussen pitted for a set of new tyres in order to have another shot at pole position but it wasn’t to be on this occasion, as he explained. “I didn’t even know I could use two sets of tyres in qualifying so I didn’t have to look far for an answer when they asked me if I wanted another set! On the second run, I caught some traffic on what should have been the second timed lap so backed out of it and then never really got going again after that.
“I’m super happy with the Ram Racing team. They are great to work with and there’s a really good feeling in the whole team. They are coming here to try and win this and we’re not here just to play about – that’s my sort of approach!”
The day has been a busy one for the team, with three free practice sessions (including a night session) and two qualifying sessions for everyone. Together with Magnussen, Johnny Mowlem, Matt Griffin and Cheerag Arya have all taken their turn at the wheel and worked together to achieve a well-balanced, comfortable car for tomorrow’s race. The planned programme for the evening was a minimum number of night laps for each driver before parking up the Ferrari.
Team Principal Dan Shufflebottom was satisfied with the way the day had evolved: “Today has gone well through both the practice and qualifying sessions and we haven’t really had any problems. We’ve tried to use the time to get a good idea of where we are for the race, working out fuel strategy and so on, and p6 isn’t a bad place to start a 24-hour race. To be eight tenths of a second ahead of the AF Corse car is very encouraging for us.
“It’s really difficult here with the traffic, and even in the second, separate-class session it’s still tough. I think Jan’s time is all that’s in the car and, by being p6, I’m hoping we’re kind of out of any trouble that might be behind us at the start, and I’m confident we can stick with the leaders.”