Pole position for Ferrari F430GT at Lime Rock Lime Rock, CT - It was the best of times at Lime Rock Race Park today, when a Ferrari 430GT, campaigned by R. Ferri Competizione with race support from Risi Competizione, took the GT2 pole for the ...
Pole position for Ferrari F430GT at Lime Rock
Lime Rock, CT - It was the best of times at Lime Rock Race Park today, when a Ferrari 430GT, campaigned by R. Ferri Competizione with race support from Risi Competizione, took the GT2 pole for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) New England Grand Prix which takes place tomorrow (1st July). Toni Vilander, driving the red F430GT for the first time in America at a track he had never seen before, posted the quickest time of the day-and a new fastest lap-with a 53.322 lap of the 1.54 mile circuit. Vilander was followed by a very quick BMW E43 M3 which had its fastest time set by Joey Hand (53.713) with a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR taking third position on the grid with a lap of 53.920 set by Lonnie Pechnik. Vilander has been paired with Ralf Kelleners, who won this race in 2004 for Risi Competizione, for the weekend, a combination that had some pundits in the paddock area predicting the pole for the F430GT. They were right.
The situation was not quite as positive for the Risi Competizione #62 F430GT. Marc Gene, a Ferrari factory test driver, was practicing during the final practice session before qualifying when the car hit the tire barrier, doing what appeared to be substantial damage to it. Ralf Kelleners though took one look at the 430GT as it was unloaded and said "it's just makeup.nothing to worry about."
The Risi Competizione technical team went to work immediately, first assessing the damage, and then initiating repairs to the body work. Managing Director Giuseppe Risi said, "There is no question that number 62 will be on the grid tomorrow. We missed qualifying, so we will have to earn our way to the front. But we will be there. Count on it."
The Ferrari effort at Lime Rock this weekend reunited Risi Competizione and R. Ferri Competizione in a program that puts two Ferrari F430GTs into the New England Grand Prix. Both cars are running on Michelin tires. For the first time this year, Ferrari has a double presence in the GT2 class, something that has been missing in 2006. For this race, Toni Vilander, from Finland, is paired with Ralf Kelleners, the German ace that has driven in recent years for Risi Competizione. Also new to the effort are a group of technicians, managers, and a strategist for the R. Ferri team, which is an effort also supported by Ferrari of Silicon Valley.
Race conditions for tomorrow's 2 hour 45 minute race, round 4 of the 2005 ALMS series, which starts at 6:00PM local time, are expected to sunny and dry-a welcome change from the chaotic and wet weather the east coast has been experiencing.