RISI COMPETIZIONE FACE FIGHT THROUGH THE FIELD AT LE MANS Risi Competizione's Gianmaria Bruni retained the honor of setting the fastest GT2 lap time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans after the third and final qualifying session, despite some strong...
RISI COMPETIZIONE FACE FIGHT THROUGH THE FIELD AT LE MANS
Risi Competizione's Gianmaria Bruni retained the honor of setting the fastest GT2 lap time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans after the third and final qualifying session, despite some strong competition from both Corvettes and the No. 95 AF Corse Ferrari. These four cars broke under the four-minute lap barrier and followed a trend seen in the LMP1, LMP2 and GT2 class of a reduction in time of 3 seconds a lap compared to 2009.
However, a subsequent official ACO scrutineering check after Midnight found a minor irregularity on the rear wing and the No. 82 car will now start the race from the back of the grid after having its times cancelled. The No. 83 sister car, sporting the colors of Krohn Racing and Krohn Aviation, will start from 12th place on the GT2 grid.
The team, while obviously disappointed at its own oversight, looks forward to the race with the same enthusiasm with which it has approached all of its endurance races. Risi Competizione has won each of the six major sportscar races in which it has competed (12 Hours Sebring, 24 Hours Le Mans and 10 Hour Petit Le Mans) since June 2008.
While Thursday's qualifying sessions were relatively calm and untroubled for the six Risi and Krohn Ferrari drivers, it had been an extremely full day for the team. As to plan, race engines, gearboxes and new radiators were fitted into the two Ferrari F430s, work carried out seamlessly under the direction of the two lead mechanics, Chris Riggs (82) and Rob Midkiff (83).
Bearing this in mind, an attempt at improving upon Wednesday's times was never considered. During the two 2-hour sessions, the drivers bedded in brake pads, checked headlight positions and ran in the new parts -- both cars completing their scheduled programs by 2300 hrs.
Friday's preparation work continues apace up and down the pit lane, with the common aim of leaving the track at a reasonable hour in order to get some much needed sleep before the 40 hours of Le Mans. The race may be 24 hours long, but for everyone involved within a team, there are at least 40 hours non-stop work ahead this weekend. May the best team win.
DRIVER QUOTES (TAKEN BEFORE SCRUTINEERING)
Gianmaria Bruni: "I think it will be a very good race with Corvette obviously, as we could see from qualifying. We all got traffic on quick laps but I think we've got a little more in the pocket which will help us in the race. I'm happy with the car, and we are all close together so we have a good package. We'll see what the race will bring and see what the weather will do."
Jaime Melo: "If you start first or last at this race, it doesn't really change anything for this race. It's where you finish that is important. It's always good to be on pole -- Gimmi did a very good lap on Wednesday -- so we're pretty confident with the car and for the race."
Pierre Kaffer: "First of all I have to say the whole Risi Competizione team, Ferrari and the guys have done a great job to prepare the car for Le Mans. It's not often that you have such a good car from the beginning onwards and I think we have a very good racing set up. Today we've just been checking the lights and bedding in brake pads, putting minimum laps on the car as it has our race engine and gearbox in. As far as the competition is concerned, I'm a little surprised that Porsche has not been closer to us. I expected Corvette to be very fast, and they are very quick on the straight which is an advantage at Le Mans, but overall I think the race will be a different story. The key will of course be to stay out of trouble, have the minimum amount of time in the pits and keep a good pace throughout. If we have a little bit of race luck too, we have a strong package to be able to fight for the victory."
Tracy Krohn: "I think this year in particular we've seen more people around the track and in the paddock, and more people in the stands, despite the weather conditions being dicey. Maybe it's a good sign of a recovering economy.
"Going into the race with the same team, same drivers and same car gives us great confidence, and as you know we've had some good results here in recent years. It's always good to have standards and everyone here has been round this track many times now."
Nic Jonsson: "I think this year the competition in the GT class is the toughest for many, many years; certainly since we've been here. For us, Krohn Racing, going into partnership with Risi Competizione again it gives us a great chance to drive one of the best cars in the field -- the Ferrari F430 -- and I feel confident as the car is very solid. For us we will stick to the same formula as before and just have scheduled stops and stay out of trouble, stick to our race pace and the race will come to us. There's a lot of pressure on some of the factory drivers, they have a lot to prove and we have a lot less pressure on us."
Eric van de Poele: "For us it was quite okay because the rain started quite late in the session. Unfortunately we couldn't validate the rain tires we wanted to try but it was interesting anyway because the track was still damp. I could feel it and the car was very well balanced even on slicks in the wet conditions so we just used the opportunity to validate a few things we'd changed to prepare the car for the race. We are very happy with the car and I think it's a better car than last year so I'm really looking forward to seeing Nic start the race."