GT – Ferrari’s Fantastic Four in Petit Qualifying

October 1, 2010

GT – Ferrari’s Fantastic Four in Petit Qualifying

October 1, 2010

Jaime Melo took the GT2 pole in the No. 61 Risi Competizione Ferrari. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

Ten points behind the GT manufacturer’s championship leaders, Ferrari has pulled out all the stops in its quest to overtake both Porsche and BMW for that title. There are four F430 GTs this weekend – the swansong for the venerable Italian car – and they have qualified in the top four spots on the grid in the GT2 class for Saturday’s American Le Mans Series season finale, the Petit Le Mans.

Jaime Melo captured the pole for Risi Competizione, his third and the team’s sixth fastest qualifying effort in nine races this season. He will co-drive with Giancarlo Fisichella and Mika Salo in Saturday’s race.

“We worked pretty hard to get a good race setup,” Melo said. “We did qualifying on a race setup. I’m a bit surprised to be on pole, but we expected to be on the first or second row.”

Melo and Gianmaria Bruni were thrust into the unusual position of battling each other for the pole after racing as co-drivers the first seven events this season. Melo has been switched to the “rosso red” No. 61 for this race after previously teaming with Bruni in the No. 62.

“I switched to the number 61 for this race, and I’m really happy with the balance and very comfortable in the car,” he said.

The No. 61, a 2010 Ferrari chassis, is the same one repaired after a practice accident in Mosport. Bruni and Toni Vilander race the No. 62 car, a 2009 Ferrari chassis.

Extreme Speed Ferrari completes the Italian quartet and Michelin technical partner team sweep of the top four.Guy Cosmo sped to his best start of the season in the No. 02 car in third place, ahead of Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 01. Co-drivers for the black-and-green ESM Ferraris are Scott Sharp, Dominik Farnbacher (No. 01), Ed Brown and Joao Barbosa (No. 02).

The competitive nature of the GT2 class sees the top 10 cars separated by less than a second, despite Ferraris in the top four positions. Fifth in the No. 90 Rahal Letterman BMW was Dirk Mueller, ahead of the two Corvette Racing Corvette ZR1s, Patrick Long in the class championship-leading No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche, David Murry in the new No. 04 Robertson Racing Doran Ford GT-R and Bill Auberlen in the second BMW.

Jeroen Bleekemolen took his sixth pole of the season in the GTC class for Black Swan Racing, a class that adds eight Porsche GT3 Cup cars to the largest field of the 2010 season.

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