Millville: Risi Competizione qualifying report

Originally-From: Fiona Miller <fmiller@risicompetizione.com> FRONT AND THIRD ROW POSITIONS FOR RISI FERRARIS AT DETROIT With both of today's practice sessions having been disrupted by rain, qualifying for tomorrow's Detroit Sports...

Originally-From: Fiona Miller <fmiller@risicompetizione.com>

FRONT AND THIRD ROW POSITIONS FOR RISI FERRARIS AT DETROIT

With both of today's practice sessions having been disrupted by rain, qualifying for tomorrow's Detroit Sports Car Challenge was always going to be a lottery for all the American Le Mans Series runners.

The Risi Competizione Ferrari 430s of Jaime Melo and Rob Bell both rose magnificently to the challenge, however, and ran what were virtually their first dry laps of the day at the start of the 20-minute qualifying session. Running carried out by Melo's team mate, Mika Salo, and Bell's driving partner, Harrison Brix, in the practice sessions was largely on a wet track but the combined experiences of today mean that the team will be prepared for any conditions for the race.

Melo was squeezed out of pole position by just three hundredths of a second, his time of 1:25.978 being beaten on a last lap effort by Wolf Henzler's Flying Lizard Porsche. Melo's qualifying lap record from last year [1:24.586] remains unbroken.

A slightly disappointed Melo said afterwards: "I had so much oversteer I couldn't easily transfer the power from the asphalt to the concrete sections of the track. On the bumps the car is still very nervous so we've got a bit of work to do in the warm up tomorrow. It's not yet a very good race car but we've had no time to be able to work on it in the dry."

Rob Bell had a mountain to climb in only his first ever ALMS qualifying session. After arriving late last night in the United States, fresh from his FIA GT double victory at the Bucharest street circuit last weekend, he had only completed a handful of laps in the wet before being tasked with qualifying. A gear shift issue prevented him from being able to challenge for a place higher up the grid, although the team is far from dissatisfied with his performance today.

Drivers, though, always feel they could have gone faster and Bell was no exception: "For me it was a test to learn the circuit because of the lack of time in the practice sessions before. It went well, I was getting quicker every lap and the car felt pretty good but we were held back by a gearbox issue which will be fixed overnight."

-credit: risi competizione

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mika Salo , Rob Bell , Jaime Melo , Harrison Brix
Teams Risi Competizione