Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Risi on track for Mid Ohio thriller after strong qualifying performance
Jaime Melo drove the No. 62 Pennzoil-supported Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 Italia to a strong third place on the GT grid for tomorrow’s Mid Ohio Sports Car Challenge, setting a fastest time of 1:20.745 in air temperatures of more than 90o and a blistering track temperature of 133o.
With several minutes of the session remaining, the Brazilian declared a temporary truce in the closely fought battle for pole position with the two BMW Team RLL entries, preferring to conserve his Michelin tires for the 2 hour 45 minute race despite knowing that he could have turned a faster lap.
The 15-minute qualifying session for the production-led GT class highlighted an excellent performance for the famous Italian marque, with three Ferrari 458s in the top seven and just 1.5 seconds separating the top ten. Joey Hand took pole position in his BMW with a time of 1:20.539.
Melo said afterwards: “The track is pretty warm right now. I tried to do one more shot but I think the tire pressures were a bit high by that time. I could have done a little better; I caught the Ford GT on the last sector of my fast lap so maybe I could have improved by a couple of tenths.
“The car feels good though and we just need to see what it will be like in race conditions on full tanks. We definitely have the potential to be fighting with the BMWs and Corvettes. We’ve got a bit more work to do to dial out some understeer to keep the car the same throughout a stint and help the tires but, if you look at the times we’ve done over the last few days, we’ve been very consistent and good so I think we’ll have a great race tomorrow.”
Risi Competizione has been one of the three fastest GT cars in all practice sessions held at the scenic Mid Ohio Sports Car Course this weekend, and has worked through a substantial program of set up and handling changes. Race Engineer Mark Schomann pronounced himself happy with the progress made over the last two days as every change has make the car faster and more balanced and the team is confident it will be able to challenge for victory.
In 2010 Melo, together with his then team mate, Gianmaria Bruni, won the GT class and produced one of the moves of the season when he overtook both BMWs on the same turn. He went on to take the checkered flag ahead of the No. 4 Corvette after an epic battle for supremacy. May there be more of the same to come tomorrow.
By: Risi Competizione