Strong third in qualifying for Risi Competizione at Long Beach


The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari team used Friday's early morning two-hour practice session to set up the popular Prancing Horse and allow the drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, to get acclimated for tomorrow's BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix on the streets of Long Beach, California. The 100-minute race is Round Three of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, scheduled to run from 1:05-2:45 p.m. PDT Saturday.

Toni Vilander was the qualifying driver for the brief 15-minute sessionGTLM and was quick out of the box in the Ferrari 488 GTLM. The Finish driver qualified on the second row, in the third position on the grid, with a time of 1:17.043.

Vilander experienced a slide into the tire wall on the sixth lap at the end of the seaside turn, where it had been difficult under braking for a number of cars today. Fortunately, he had only slight damage, although the Risi team will do a thorough check this afternoon in preparation of tomorrow's 100-minute race.


Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:

"Qualifying went pretty well except for the late tire wall contact at the end. But when you push on a narrow street circuit you take that risk. The damage didn't look significant but the crew will dig into it tonight and see what we have and I'm sure we'll be ready to race tomorrow. It was a very tight qualifying with only .5 seconds top to bottom. It's hard to have a closer field then that. We made a few small changes between the last practice and qualifying and generally I think they were positive. I think we'll have a good race car tomorrow and I think P3 is a good place to start."

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

"We had a good car for qualifying. I had one Corvette in front of me at the start of qualifying and I could see the distance in different laps but we had a fast lap right away. We made a few changes on the car before qualifying and the Michelin tires were working really well. I went into the tires [tire wall] not because it was slippery but there is only one racing line. I was still on it and repeating my fastest lap time. I had three corners to improve my time. I saw I was not able to keep on the racing line so I made the car spin. I hope we did not get too much damage. When I drove it back to the pits it didn't make any strange noises so I hope there's no damage. You don't have much time in qualifying so you just go for it. The gaps are really close...just a 100th of a second to P2. I'd made great improvements on my lap time. I don't know how but I did it. I'm really happy for the crew because we have had some ups and downs both last season and this season in qualifying. Today was just me trying to gain lap time and trying to push. We'll check the car and then we'll think about the race."


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

"We made a couple of adjustments on the car before qualifying. It was very important to us to get a good set up for the race. It's very competitive [in the GTLM class] and we need to score points. We feel we have a good car. The circuit can be slippery and bumpy but car looks right. It's a good set up for the race and we'll see tomorrow what will happen."

The history of the Risi Competizione team at Long Beach includes one victory (2007) in the Ferrari 430 GT and six additional podium finishes in nine attempts, with two of those years being a two-car team entry.

The 100-minute race around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit is Round 3 of the 2017 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, where the Risi team has collected third place finishes at both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring for the first two rounds during the year of the 70th year anniversary of Ferrari.

Risi Competizione Press Release