MELO GRABS FRONT ROW SPOT FOR UTAH GRAND PRIX Jaime Melo has secured a front row spot for the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 on the GT starting grid for tomorrow's fourth round of the American Le Mans Series at Miller Motorsports Park in...
MELO GRABS FRONT ROW SPOT FOR UTAH GRAND PRIX
Jaime Melo has secured a front row spot for the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 on the GT starting grid for tomorrow's fourth round of the American Le Mans Series at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The Brazilian's best time of 1:47.265 was unfortunately not quite enough for pole position, that honor being taken by Jorg Bergmeister's Flying Lizard Porsche by virtue of just over a tenth of a second.
Melo, who is one of only nine drivers in the field who has competed at all three previous Miller Motorsports Park events and who won the GT2 class in the inaugural race, completed two hot laps right at the start of the 20-minute qualifying session. He then ran his AdShip-supported Ferrari for two further cooling down laps before coming into the pits to make a small adjustment to tire pressures. After returning to the track, and on his first flying lap, he set his quickest time of the session but was unable to better Bergmeister's time.
He commented afterwards: "I tried really hard but we had some turn-in, high speed oversteer which made the car difficult to manage. It's okay though, second, it's not bad and we can improve the car for the race. We are consistent, like the Porsches are, and it's going to be a really tough race to be honest. Strategy will be really important. The track is okay and the racing line is clean but if you go off it by even just a few centimetres you lose grip."
Both Melo and German driver, Pierre Kaffer, are in the midst of a busy few weeks of racing, all of which are keeping them sharp and ready not only for tomorrow's race but also for the forthcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans on 13/14th June. The team mates were both racing Ferrari 430s (against each other) at last weekend's 1000 Kilometres of Spa, round two of the European-based Le Mans Series.
Melo, teamed with Antonio Garcia and Leo Mansell, showed why he is the best Ferrari 430 driver in the world by setting the classic Belgian track alight with lap times consistently two seconds or more a lap faster than his competitors. Starting the race from the pit lane, he got the Team Modena GT2 Ferrari into contention within six laps and went on to help the team to possibly their first race win of the year. Although the Ferrari finished second on track, the winning Porsche was disqualified at post race tech; the result, however, remains provisional until an appeal has been heard.
Kaffer was also flying at Spa in his Ferrari 430, and was holding a strong third position until a starter motor problem sidelined him. He will be heading straight from Salt Lake City on Monday to his 'home' track -- the Nurburgring -- for next weekend's 24 Hour race on the historic Nordschleife track. He will sharing a new Audi R8 LMS with, amongst others, former ALMS Champion Lucas Luhr -- one of 175 entries!!