FIRST PRACTICE/QUALIFYING SESSIONS
In today's first four hours of official practice/qualifying for this weekend's 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the two Ferraris and six drivers within the Risi Competizione team completed their mandatory night laps and were able to use the available track time to work on headlight settings and the set up of the car for the race. Melo set the fastest time in car 97 (4m05.358) to place him 3rd in class and Jonsson in car 99 (4m09.065) gave him the 6th fastest GT2 time of the day.
Both two-hour sessions were, however, interrupted by red flag periods and heavy rain in part of the 13.629 kilometre circuit which caused a delay to the scheduled program of work that had been planned by the team's engineers.
The start at 10.00pm of the second, night session was officially classified as wet but, as time ticked by and no further rain fell, a dry line began to appear. Working closely with Michelin, the team elected to run on intermediate tires.
Running just after conditions became fully dark, Britain's Johnny Mowlem said, "We were on intermediates but the conditions were quite difficult. In the dry sections you would just get the tires up to temperature and then you'd get to the wet part of the track again. You had to be very careful in the middle of the second chicane and anywhere near the kerbs as they were still wet."
The last of the Risi drivers to take to the track in the #97 car was Jaime Melo and he was realistic in his view of the evening's proceedings. "It's difficult to know what the car is really like in these conditions. Tomorrow we will have the right tires and everything for the conditions and we will be able to make more steps forward."
Nic Jonsson was the last of the three Krohn Racing drivers to run in the #99 car tonight and he spoke on behalf of all three when he said, "The track was drying but it's still wet from the first chicane through Mulsanne and up to Indianapolis. Then you get to a drier part. There are no rooster tails or anything like that and it was definitely drying conditions but there was no point in doing more than was necessary.
"In the first session we learnt something about the set up of the car and hopefully tomorrow, if it doesn't rain again, we can do a bit more work for the race. We are going to try and run a very steady race pace and the car is pretty close to being well set up for this already."