Risi Competizione claims GTLM pole for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Risi Competizione claims GTLM pole for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

07.10.2017: Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM No. 62: Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA), Toni Vilander (FIN), Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA)

Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM No. 62:
Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA), Toni Vilander (FIN), Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA)

 (L-R) Alessandro Pier Guidi , Toni Vilander, and Giancarlo Fisichella celebrate the GTLM pole at Road Atlanta

The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 team earned its second consecutive pole position in 2017 as it looks to repeat a victory at the 20th running of the prestigious Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday. Finnish driver Toni Vilander claimed the pole for the popular Ferrari team with a best of lap of 1:17:660 seconds at the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course northeast of Atlanta.

The race is the final event in the 2017 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Vilander turned in the pole lap time on the seventh of nine laps completed by the Prancing Horse team during the 15-minute qualifying session.

 Vilander will begin the 10-hour endurance race, also the final of four stops on the Patron North American Endurance Cup, before handing over the reins to Italian teammate Giancarlo Fisichella and his Italian countryman Alessando Pier Guidi. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 11:05 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 7.

Risi's most recent pole came just two weeks ago at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and the popular team from Houston, Texas last claimed victory at Petit Le Mans last year.

 The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM drives past a track banner displaying an image of the 1998 winning Risi Competizione Ferrari 333 SP

Toni Vilander, qualifying driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

"It took real teamwork [for the pole]. I've been racing with Giancarlo for quite a while. What an excellent addition to our crew Alessandro has been. He gave us ideas about the setup and together with Rick we went down the right road. It was a difficult qualifying because there were other races before us.

 The track condition was different than every practice session prior to the qualifying. We got it right. I probably pushed a bit too much, but if I had calmed myself down I would have done even better. I'm really happy for the crew who always works so hard for us and, as I said before, I love racing in the U.S. and I love this crew.

 Every time I'm in the race car I try to do the best I can and stay focused. The main thing is the mental side so I always try to give all I've got and if the pole position arrives, it's welcome, but, if not we push the same way as always."

Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

It's been pretty good so far. We've been quickest today obviously. Toni did a fantastic job with the pole. I think we had a perfect lap, because just with a perfect lap you could do the pole today. The gap between us and the others is so close. In one place you can be first or you can be sixth or seventh. So it's important to do a clean lap.

 It's a great start for the race tomorrow, but obviously it's going to be a very, very long race, and very tough race. Last year we won. We would like to win again. We know it's really rough, but I think we've got good potential to score a good result again in this year."

 The Risi Competizione Ferrari team celebrate Vilander's pole at Road Atlanta

Alessandro Pier Guidi, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

"I'm really happy and I'm also confident for the race because the car is good. I didn't drive today, but I drove yesterday and the car was good. I was comfortable inside and I think we will do good in the race. Starting in the front is always better and now we'll see tomorrow. The competition is very close, but we will try to stay in front thru the end."

Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:

"The setup was in a good window as we rolled off the truck. Alessandro got up to speed very quickly and has been a huge asset. He's been here before and he's very fast. Toni got the pole which we're very happy with. It's extremely tight at the top. The top five cars are within a tenth of a second so that's tight. We knew the track would change with the Conti race before our qualifying, our Michelin rubber (tires) doesn't mix well with the Conti rubber.

But Toni managed to put in a good lap. Even he'll admit it wasn't his best lap because he struggled a bit with grip on the track, but it was enough for the pole and we're happy with that. Hopefully we have a good race and with some luck maybe repeat a win from last year."

 Toni Vilander proudly displays an autographed Texas flag

The Motul Petit Le Mans runs 10 hours on Saturday from 11:05 a.m.-9:05 p.m. local time after a morning warm up at 8:10 a.m. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.

Tune-In Information:

The race will be broadcast live in the United States on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET and on the FOX Sports Go app. The broadcast will then shift to FS2 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET, before the network picks up the broadcast again at 5 p.m. ET and carries the event through its conclusion until 9:30 p.m. ET.

 You can also listen to it on radiolemans.com or imsa.tv. The race will be streamed live in its entirety for international audiences on IMSA.tv and the IMSA Mobile app.


Barbara J. Burns -photos Risi Competizione

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/risi-competizione-gtlm-pole-petit-le-mans-road-atlanta---169020.html

07.10.2017 / MaP

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