Ferraris lead ‘Noah’s Ark’-style GT grid

May 21, 2010

Ferraris lead ‘Noah’s Ark’-style GT grid

May 21, 2010

Johannes van Overbeek and Scott Sharp race the No. 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari F430 GT. They start second on Saturday. Photo credit: Rick Dole

GT qualifying for Saturday’s American Le Mans Series race at Monterey sees the seriously competitive field broken up in pairs.

In GT, Jaime Melo laid down his fastest lap early, as he did in Long Beach, to secure his second straight pole position for Saturday’s race.

“We didn’t expect to be that fast, as we struggled with understeer,” Melo said. “We just got (the setup) at the end of practice.”

Melo and Gianmaria Bruni in the Risi Ferrari lead a GT grid that is paired similar to Noah’s Ark – there are two of each manufacturer in the first three rows, and in eight of the first nine positions.

Registering the best start for Scott Sharp’s new Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari team is Sharp’s co-driver Johannes van Overbeek. “JVO” was three tenths of a second adrift of Melo. This is an impressive result for the team in just its third start in ALMS, especially considering a brake fire at Sebring caused significant bodywork damage.

The two factory Corvette Racing ZR1s comprise row two, in a weekend when the team is beginning celebrations of its 50th anniversary at Le Mans. The team has a banner in the pit lane for fans to sign and has also premiered blue crew shirts to mark the occasion. On track, Oliver Gavin qualified ahead of Jan Magnussen, 1:23.101 to 1:23.201.

Row three has the two Rahal Letterman BMW M3s, with Bill Auberlen qualifying ahead of Dirk Mueller. Much of their crew was delayed in arriving from Indianapolis but has rebounded to prepare the cars for the weekend.

After the second Extreme Speed Ferrari, driven by Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown, are the two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs. The No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister only registered one lap in the first 10 minutes of the 20-minute session and was stuck playing catch-up, despite pacing the morning practice. He edged Wolf Henzler in the No. 17 Porsche.

Jeroen Bleekemolen took the GTC pole in a Porsche GT3 Cup for Tim Pappas’s Black Swan Racing, in that team’s second start of the season.

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