Risi Competizione press release
RISI COMPETIZIONE START 4TH ON GT GRID FOR PETIT LE MANS
The Risi Competizione No. 062 Ferrari 458 Italia GT will start on the second row of the hugely competitive, 19-strong GTE-Pro grid after today’s 15-minute qualifying session. Jaime Melo’s fastest time of 1:19.219 placed him fourth for tomorrow’s 1,000 mile or ten-hour Petit Le Mans (whichever comes first), and was the quickest he’d lapped the 2.54 mile, 12 Turn Road Atlanta track all week.
The AF Corse F458 Italia of former Risi driver Gianmaria Bruni claimed pole position with a time of 1:18.699, and Ferraris filled five of the top ten positions in the GT qualifying classification. Just one second separated the top ten GT cars, and only seven hundredths of a second separated those in fifth to eighth positions – an indication of the intensity of competition and the high level of the field.
While slightly disappointed that he wasn’t able to replicate his class pole position of 2010, Melo was not unhappy with his qualifying performance. He completed just six laps, preferring to preserve the life of his Michelin tires for the start of the race tomorrow.
He commented: “I didn’t have any big problems and I tried my best. At these temperatures I had a bit of oversteer going into the corners, especially on the right hand ones, but I think second row is not so bad.
“The race is long and I think on full tanks, as we will have tomorrow, the car will be handling better than in qualifying and we will see what happens. I’m happy as it’s really, really tight in the class. Gimmi did a good job to get pole ahead of the BMWs.
“Tomorrow it’s going to be really busy and I think the car we have now will be good in traffic which was our main target this week. We just need to be careful at the start, and in the early stages of the race and hopefully our race will come to us.”