Risi Competizione headed a spectacular Ferrari assault on the GT2 grid in qualifying for tomorrow's 13th annual 1000 Mile/Ten Hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse) features on the first four cars of the ...
Risi Competizione headed a spectacular Ferrari assault on the GT2 grid in qualifying for tomorrow's 13th annual 1000 Mile/Ten Hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse) features on the first four cars of the 17-strong GT2 grid, with Jaime Melo in the No. 61 Risi Ferrari leading the way.
The Brazilian's fastest time of 1:19.889, his third pole position of the 2010 season and 18th ALMS career pole, was just marginally ahead of team mate Gianmaria Bruni in the No. 62 car. They are followed on the second row by the two Extreme Speed Ferrari F430GTCs of Guy Cosmo (No. 02) and Johannes van Overbeek (No.01).
Only 0.9 seconds separated the top ten cars in the ever-competitive GT2 class, which is indicative not only of the extremely high level of teams and drivers represented, but also highlights what a tightly-fought race it is likely to be. With 15 different auto and chassis manufacturers amongst the 45 entries, tomorrow's Petit Le Mans is shaping up to be arguably the most anticipated yet held. It is also the largest annual international sporting event in Georgia.
Watched by a large number of Ferrari owners and Pennzoil Ultra TM guests at Road Atlanta today, the Risi Ferraris adopted a conservative tire choice for qualifying with the long race ahead in mind. They left the pits as the green flag fell for the 20-minute qualifying session, tucking in behind the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche and both BMWs, ironically the three cars ahead of Bruni in the Drivers' championship. With a total of 22 GT/GTC cars on track, finding a clear lap was always going to be a challenge and it took several circuits of the 2.54 mile track before times began to tumble. Both Melo and Bruni set their fastest laps on the 8th time of asking.
Gianmaria Bruni, No. 62 Risi Ferrari: "We changed something in the car after practice this morning which we hoped would improve the handling but it went the other way, so it wasn't the perfect set up. It was good enough though. I battled with the No. 61 till the last lap but, considering the hotter weather today, I think it was a good lap. Now we'll fix the car and hopefully it will be better for tomorrow. We'll see in warm up."
Jaime Melo, No. 61 Risi Ferrari: "Being on pole is a good start for the weekend. It's pretty warm today compared with yesterday or this morning's practice sessions, and I think the lap time is good considering the set up we have in the car is a race set up, not one for qualifying. We worked hard to find a good race set up and I have to say I was a bit surprised to be on pole.
"We can't forget Petit Le Mans will be a very long and busy race. We need to keep the car on the track without any trouble and take it easy, especially in the first part of the race, and then see how it goes. We are looking for Team and Manufacturer Championship points as well as helping Gimmi for the Drivers' title, and this is a very good start for Ferrari -- to have four Ferrari 430s on the two front rows makes it a special days for the factory and is a perfect way to say good-bye to this car before the introduction next year of the new Ferrari 458."