RISI'S FERRARIS LOCK OUT GT FRONT ROW Lexington, Ohio. Friday, August 6. Risi Competizione's two Pennzoil Ultra sponsored Ferrari F430 GTC cars will be starting tomorrow's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge from the best possible position after ...
RISI'S FERRARIS LOCK OUT GT FRONT ROW
Lexington, Ohio. Friday, August 6. Risi Competizione's two Pennzoil Ultra sponsored Ferrari F430 GTC cars will be starting tomorrow's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge from the best possible position after an impressive display of driving in qualifying today by Ferrari drivers Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni.
Finland's Toni Vilander secured pole position in the GT class today with a best time of 1:19.682, a new qualifying lap record, just edging out his team mate Gianmaria Bruni who qualified with a time of 1:19.759, also under the previous lap record. It is the team's fourth pole position from the six ALMS rounds held so far, and Vilander's second pole in the series.
In the fiercely competitive manufacturer-led class, just half a second covered the top six, and there was tough competition from both Corvette and BMW who had been pushing the Ferraris hard in practice earlier today. Everyone was gunning for the top spots on the grid as track position on this tight and technical road course will be vital for the early stages of the 2 hour 45 minute race.
The two one-hour practice sessions held before qualifying had been eventful for the Risi Ferraris, especially the #61. Giancarlo Fisichella was side-swiped by a prototype during the morning session, damaging the bodywork, fender frame and rocker on the right side of the F430 and curtailing their track time by 20 minutes. Carrying out their usual slick job, the Risi mechanics turned the car around in good time for the second, afternoon session, and Fisichella and Vilander were able to use the time to work on set up -- which obviously paid off handsomely.
Jaime Melo and Gimmi Bruni were less than fully satisfied with the handling of their car in the morning, Bruni also struggling with traffic issues, but made changes for qualifying which have given them a fast and stable race car. Bruni completed six flying laps in the #62 car, setting his fastest time on the fifth.
Toni Vilander: "First of all I'm really happy to be here in Mid Ohio and back in the ALMS -- I really enjoy this Championship and I don't get pole positions in Europe like I do here! I didn't really know what to expect today because the race track is new for both me and Giancarlo, my team mate. But we knew we could rely on Risi Competizione, who have so much experience here, and our really quick team mates, Jaime and Gimmi, so we had the maximum information available. We usually start the weekend with a similar set up to our sister car and then we personalise the car to our liking.
"I think the race will be very interesting. They've never had this many cars for this race and it's quite a tight track. I think we need to be careful with the prototypes because there is only one racing line and either side of that is grass or the wall. You will need to be able to see things happening almost before they are happening. You can lose a lot of time over half a lap, so it will be a question of patience, taking calculated risks and being smart to be successful."
Gimmi Bruni: "I think we got the most out of the car today. I didn't have any issues and the car was running good. I did a lap time and afterwards I slowed down, which maybe I shouldn't have done as I was pushing and was three tenths ahead. Only Toni beat me by just over half a tenth so it's good for Risi and good for Ferrari and will be a good race tomorrow."