FERRARIS MAKE THEIR MARK ON THE GT GRID FOR ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
Daytona, Florida, January 26, 2012. The two Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am cars of Risi Competizione with American Canadian Racing will start this weekend’s 50th Anniversary running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona from 5th* and 11th places on the GT grid.
In a quick-changing, high-paced 15-minute qualifying session for the production led class, Italian Gianmaria Bruni was tasked with qualifying the No. 62 while Toni Vilander of Finland was behind the wheel of the No. 63. Both cars are backed by long-time Risi Competizione sponsor, Motorola, as well as QT Technologies, and supported by a consortium of Ferrari dealers including Ferrari of Ontario, Ferrari of Beverly Hills, Ferrari of Silicon Valley, Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale, Boardwalk Ferrari, Ferrari of Vancouver, and Ferrari of Houston.
Bruni’s best time of 1:49.661, placing him fifth, was set on his third flying lap and he immediately decided that there was nothing to be gained by staying out on track for longer. Pole position was taken by the Brumos Porsche of Andrew Davis with a time of 1:49.357 – just 0.015seconds ahead of the Aim Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am of Jeff Segal.
Gimmi Bruni (speaking before post race tech): “It was a good qualifying and we decided to do just a few laps as the car was running good and we didn’t have any issues. We worked this morning on improving the handling a bit and I’m happy with what we have now.
“It took a few laps to get the tires up to temperature but, once they were there, there was no point to do any more laps. We have to just be patient for the race; I don’t think P5 is a bad position to start for a 24-hour race. There are a few Porsches ahead so it’s going to be fun!”
The team used the two practice sessions prior to qualifying to work through a series of planned set up changes and tire evaluation program, and despite a minor electronic glitch which momentarily delayed the No. 62, the cars ran well throughout.
Toni Vilander commented after qualifying: “We’ve still got a little bit to do with the set up for the race - the red flag in the last practice session surprised us a bit and we lost 10 minutes we could have made good use of. But, seeing the end result, I don’t think it would have changed anything.
“It wasn’t an easy qualifying session, mostly because of the traffic. The car had the potential to be better, around the same lap time that Gimmi did, but if you have issues in the traffic it was difficult to gain a gap advantage again.
“There were a lot of drivers taking a lot of risks – I saw two cars touching flat out right at the end of qualifying. What’s the point in taking the risk – this is just 3% of the 24 hours? Thursday is a challenging day with all the sessions and no time to relax, but I think we’ll be fine for race although it won’t be an easy one.”
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