Risi claim front row GT qualifying spot at VIR

Malucelli's fastest lap was removed by the stewards, but his second best time kept the team on the GT front row.

4 October 2013. Matteo Malucelli might not have driven around the Virginia International Raceway track before yesterday’s unofficial test session, but that didn’t prevent him from showing his intent to claim pole position in this afternoon’s 15-minute qualifying session.

Olivier Beretta, Matteo Malucelli
Olivier Beretta, Matteo Malucelli

Photo by: Richard Sloop

Following two one-hour practice sessions earlier today, the first of which saw Malucelli claim top billing in the GT category, the Italian did just three hot laps of the 3.27 mile before setting the second fastest time of the qualifying session. His best lap time of 1:46.113 put him just 0.14s behind the GT pole sitting No.55 BMW of Maxime Martin. It is Malucelli’s best qualifying position since claiming pole position at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.

Unfortunately, on his fourth lap, Malucelli went wide and damaged the gearbox oil lines of the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia which resulted in oil being dropped on the track, causing a Red Flag. Following an investigation by the Stewards of the meeting, the fastest lap time of the Ferrari was deleted but Malucelli’s second fastest lap was still good enough to hold onto second place in the GT category.

One of the faster tracks visited by the American Le Mans Series, which several very rapid corners, a number of competitors have gone off the VIR track during the two practice sessions, picking up the loose grass clippings which then get onto the tires. This results in a loss of traction and the potential for more off-track excursions.

Matteo Malucelli said afterwards: “The track is like many others in North America, it’s quite narrow, fast and if you make a mistake it does not forgive you. I had a Viper in front of me during my first few laps which maybe cost me the chance of pole, but the car was good – especially on the new Michelin tires.

“I just went a little wide on my 4th lap but the curbs damaged the underneath of the car. We don’t think there is too much damage, and will look at making a change to the car to make it more stable for tomorrow’s race.”

Round 9 of the American Le Mans Series, the Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR, will take place on Saturday 5 October. The 2 hour 45 minute race will start at 2:15pm and ESPN2 will have television coverage of this weekend’s race at 5:30 pm ET on Sunday, 6 October. ESPN3 will offer live streaming of the race on Saturday beginning at 2 pm ET and the race will also be streamed on ALMS.com (race internationally and in-cars in the US).

Risi Competizione

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Olivier Beretta , Matteo Malucelli , Maxime Martin
Teams Risi Competizione
Article type Qualifying report
Tags alms, beretta, ferrari, malucelli, oak tree, qualifying, risi, vir