RISI RACE TO GT POLE POSITION AT LONG BEACH Jaime Melo drove the ...
RISI RACE TO GT POLE POSITION AT LONG BEACH
Jaime Melo drove the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT to a spectacular GT pole position at Long Beach today in front of substantial Friday crowds. His time of 1:19.581 was a new qualifying lap record and placed him 0.59 seconds ahead of his fastest competitor, the Falken Porsche of Wolf Henzler.
Brazilian Melo, who is domiciled in Milan, Italy and his Italian team mate, Gianmaria Bruni, who is competing at the scenic temporary street course for the first time, have made the most of the limited track time available to them today. They worked through a programme of set up changes, despite very differing track conditions and temperatures from one end of the day to the other, and were both satisfied they'd found a rapid race car for tomorrow's 100-minute sprint event.
"We are very happy to be celebrating this pole position with Pennzoil Ultra," said Team Principal. "We are very proud to have them come on-board as a sponsor of the Risi Competizione team as we continue our quest for our third ALMS championship. Shell and Ferrari have an iconic relationship, and we hope the advanced technology of Pennzoil UltraTM will provide us the advantage to drive our cars to the winner's circle."
Jaime Melo, celebrating his 16th pole position within the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, said afterwards: "It was a good time but it was the maximum we could have got from the car. I wanted to save our tires for tomorrow so didn't do more than five laps and I know we've got a very good car for the race. We tried a different differential configuration for qualifying but it didn't give us anything more.
"We achieved our target for today which was to get at the front of the GT field for the race. Long Beach has always been good for us and it's likely to be the last race for the F430 here so it's a good start for the weekend. We might have had a gap in qualifying but I think tomorrow in the race it will be a lot tighter than this. It will be a very hard race."
Gimmi Bruni was delighted with his team mate's pole position and had enjoyed his first experience of the Long Beach track: "It's a nice track and I got up to speed easily. The traffic makes it difficult for everyone but I think it's going to be a great race. Every part of the track is a challenge and I haven't had enough laps to be really comfortable yet. Jaime did a great job to get pole position and that's given us a very good place to start tomorrow."