Daytona 24: Risi Competizione Thursday qualifying notes

Risi Competizione set the fourth-fastest GT class time during the first qualifying session for this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. Ralf Kelleners posted a lap time of one minute 55.084 seconds on the 3.65-mile Daytona International Speedway road...

Risi Competizione set the fourth-fastest GT class time during the first qualifying session for this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. Ralf Kelleners posted a lap time of one minute 55.084 seconds on the 3.65-mile Daytona International Speedway road course for fourth on provisional GT grid. He will share the No. 35 Ferrari 360 Modena GT with Anthony Lazzaro and Johnny Mowlem.

"We're where we expected to be and we're happy about that," Kelleners said. "I think we have a very good race car. We're lacking a little bit on speed to the Porsches - we knew that before, that's down to power. But the setup of the car is very comfortable at the moment. We'll do a long-distance run this evening to see if that's the case for a long-distance race."

Mauro Baldi qualified seventh in GT (1:56.045) in the No. 34 Ferrari he's driving with Eric van de Poele, Ryan Hampton and Justin Keen.

"I'm happy with the handling of the car," he said. The car is very new to all of us so we are trying to do our best. Maybe it could have gone quicker but it was taking a risk I didn't like."

pit position

Risi Competizione has selected the final two spaces on pit lane for the Risi and Ferri cars. Rick Mayer, chief engineer for the No. 35 Ferrari, noted the choice was a strategic one.

"When it goes full-course yellow, they close the pits when the pace car is at start/finish," he explained. "So since we only have 10 feet to the pit-out line, the odds of us getting stuck in the pits under a yellow are minimal. Also if you get on the throttle and get out of here quick you don't have to worry about speed limits on the exit. And, during the race, it's difficult for the drivers to know where our pit is if we're in the middle. When we're the the last pit, it makes it much easier for them to judge where the pit is.

"The only disadvantage is the crew has to walk all the way down [to pit out] during practice, but for 24 hours no one will leave, so it won't make any difference."

sunny start

Johnny Mowlem says the Florida sunshine contributes to his on-track performance.

"The weather here is so much better than in England where we're having blizzards, which is very unusual for us," he noted. "The conditions here are so much finer, I'm going to go as quick as I possibly can because I always drive better when it's sunny."

-rc/sp

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Eric van de Poele , Mauro Baldi , Ryan Hampton , Johnny Mowlem , Justin Keen
Teams Risi Competizione