Imola: Qualifying quotes

Pole Position in GT : Fabrizio Gollin - nr 2 BMS Scuderia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "We managed to find a good set-up yesterday. On this track, you can cut the corners really well. This morning, I could do two very good lap times. I was lucky,...

Pole Position in GT : Fabrizio Gollin - nr 2 BMS Scuderia Ferrari 550 Maranello : "We managed to find a good set-up yesterday. On this track, you can cut the corners really well. This morning, I could do two very good lap times. I was lucky, because I found a clean lap. Now I hope for tomorrow. I know it will be difficult to finish the race in this position with the weight. The problem will be the braking, as well as the tyres. But we will start from first position - we'll see how it goes."

Pole Position in N-GT : Christian Pescatori - nr 62 GPC Giesse Ferrari 360 Modena : "The car has been very good since Spa. It's very fast, and also consistent for the race. But it won't be easy tomorrow. The conditions might be a problem. It's very hot, and that will make the race difficult. I have a new teammate here - Iradj Alexander. He's very fast, and he knows the Ferrari well, because he's raced in the FIA GT in 2002, and last year with JMB USA."

2nd in GT : Walter Lechner Jr - nr 4 Konrad Motorsport Saleen S7 : "It was a very hard qualifying today, both for myself and for the car. I pushed very hard, we tried our best, and in the end it was very close. I expect the race tomorrow to be tough as well. The temperatures rise to sixty, maybe sixty-five degrees in the car, but fortunately it's cooling down when we drive, so it's not all too unbearable."

3rd in GT : Uwe Alzen - nr 5 Vitaphone Racing Team Saleen S7 : "It was a very close session, but that's good for the spectators and the fans watching on the TV screens. It's just a bit of a lottery to find a clean quick lap. At the moment, there's just too much traffic. I'm a bit disappointed of course that I only finished third. But we'll see what we can do for tomorrow. We hope to be on the podium, but we will need some luck."

2nd in N-GT : Stéphane Ortelli - nr 50 Freisinger Yukos Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "We have 75 kilos on the car, but I don't really feel the weight so much. I'm very happy with the set-up of our car and the time we set. But nevertheless, I think we're going to lose some of our ballast after tomorrow. It's so hot here!"

3rd in N-GT : Alex Piccolo - nr 87 Mik Corse Ferrari 360 Modena : "I'm third, but it's going to be a long race tomorrow. It will be very difficult, and it will depend very much on the set-up. It's going to be my first race in FIA GT. I've previously raced in the Italian championship."

Tommy Erdos -.nr 7 RML Saleen S7 : "We are doing all we can to put some extra cooling in the car. Some people think our car is cooler as it is rear engined, but we have the radiators in the front, so we get all the heat in front, and from behind as well. The circuit is great - very technical, slightly bumpier than I expected. It has been tricky to get the car set up properly. And the traffic has been bad - with so many top cars, and not many straights, it has been hard to overtake."

Giampaolo Coppi - team owner, GPC Giesse Squadra Corse : "The N-GT car has had no problems at all. It was important for us to show that the car was still competitive and OK after Spa. It was a pity; we don't know the reason for the crash exactly, but it was certainly technical. On the Ferrari 575 M Maranello cars, due to the high temperatures yesterday, the set up we chose was not OK. So we tested two different solutions, one softer and one harder; the one that worked was on the nr 13 car, which did a correct time, and the nr 11 has now returned to the other set-up, but it was not possible to improve their time. The main problem I see for tomorrow is the high temperature in the cockpit. It will be an interesting battle tomorrow, and important for us as we are in Italy."

Karl Wendlinger - nr 17 JMB Racing Ferrari 575 M Maranello : "It has not been going very well this weekend. We could not set up the car correctly, as we lost practice time in both sessions with mechanical problems. And then today the handling was not very easy, especially over the bumps and kerbs. Jamie was out in the car this afternoon, with a new set of tyres, and they tried to make the car more comfortable; I think it went quite well. But we are a long way back, and it is going to be a very long race in these conditions. The main problem is that not enough air comes into the cars. It will be tough tomorrow, but we have to manage it."

Andrea Piccini - nr 24 DAMS Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT: "The car is going better. This afternoon we did almost the same time as the morning, while most of the other cars were slower, so we are improving around a second. A gap of around 2.5 seconds is still a lot, but we still have some more changes to do before tomorrow, and we are always working in the same direction, so hopefully for the race it should be better. We should be closer to the others in the race. Having little experience with the car, and with the new tyres, it was difficult to do a good lap in qualifying right away. But the Michelin tyres seem very good, and our car seemed very good on old tyres. We should be better for the race - but I don't want to talk too early. As always, we will do our best."

Jamie Campbell-Walter - nr 27 Creation Lister Storm : "Our car is actually very good, but it's off the pace. We missed yesterday afternoon when the bonnet came out, but apart from that, it is very good. But we have not done any development on the car, so we've stayed at the same place and everyone else has moved ahead. That's what happens. But the session was very close, and although we are not far off the leaders, we're in P16. But I'm sure we' ll be able to pick some off at the start, and others will fall by the wayside, and we'll see what happens. It's a bit disappointment to have a car that is feeling good, and to get in quite a good lap, and still be so far down. If we can finish in the top six, that would be a really good result for us."

Gordon Davies - Team Manager, Graham Nash Motorsport : "We had a driveshaft go in the second qualifying session, which was a shame. But the drivers - Paolo Ruberti, Gabriele Lancieri and Luca Pirri-Ardizzone - all know the circuit, the car is handling well, the heat is not bothering the car or the drivers. We're fifth on the grid, which we are happy with. Our drivers all have local knowledge, they have all won races here before, so that has helped us a lot, even before coming here. It will be a long race; they are all looking forward to it, and all wanted to do the start, the middle and the end - we really needed a three-seater Saleen !"

Andrea Bertolini - nr 33 AF Corse Maserati MC 12: "It has been a very interesting day, with a lot of work. We have worked hard towards the race, which is very important for the whole team. I had big understeer for the first two laps, and then I had traffic in the Variante Alta, and I preferred not to use the second set of tyres in qualifying, and to use them for the race. For me, that is the best test. But I think it will be a very hard race tomorrow. Mika and I are very happy with the balance and the tyres. I think after ten laps we could create a big surprise ^Å"

Christian Ried - nr 69 Proton Competition Porsche 996 : "Everything is perfect, the car is going well, a little hot, but everything has gone smoothly."

Sascha Maassen - Nr 99 Freisinger Motorsport Porsche 996 GT3-RS : "The team did a great job. I was there with them, and I was really impressed with them. The car is not yet back to normal; it has been prepared in order to last this race, but there is major work to be done afterwards. It is not as good as it was at the start of the weekend. But considering that, we are doing really well. We'll see how we can do. We want to score to score some points if possible, to keep the Championship fight alive."

-fia-

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Fabrizio Gollin , Karl Wendlinger , Christian Pescatori , Stéphane Ortelli , Sascha Maassen , Uwe Alzen , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Gabriele Lancieri , Christian Ried , Andrea Bertolini , Iradj Alexander-David , Paolo Ruberti
Teams AF Corse , Proton Competition , DAMS