Extreme Speed Motorsports Qualifies at Petit Le Mans P1 And P2 – UPDATED
The Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferraris dominated Friday’s qualifying session at Petit Le Mans – qualifying 1-2 and locking in the front row for tomorrow’s season finale at Road Atlanta.
Setting new records for the team and race circuit, Guy Cosmo, co-driver of the No. 02 Ultimat Vodka Ferrari 458 Italia, earned his first career pole position, the second consecutive pole for ESM, and set a new qualifying track record for Road Atlanta for the season finale of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón.
In the brief 15-minute session, the chrome and blue Ultimat Vodka-livered Ferraris were fixtures atop the charts. At the conclusion of the session, Cosmo and Toni Vilander, co-driver of the No. 01 Ultimat Vodka Ferrari 458 Italia, were listed as the front row starters for the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda on Saturday.
The 1-2 qualifying effort is the first time team history that the Ferraris will start side-by-side from the start of the highly competitive GT class.
Cosmo earned his first career ALMS pole on Friday afternoon by lapping the No. 02 Ferrari around then 2.54-mile, 12-turn circuit in 1:18.677 (116.222 mph). Cosmo will pilot the No. 02 with season-long teammate Ed Brown, and Atlanta native Anthony Lazzaro.
Vilander qualified the No. 01 car less than a tenth of a second behind Cosmo with a best lap of 1:18.729 (116.145 mph). Vilander, a factory Ferrari driver, joins season-long regulars Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek.
The final race of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. The 1,000-mile/10-hour race from Road Atlanta is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct 20. Full, live coverage starts at 11:15 a.m. ET on ESPN3.ABC’s broadcast begins at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 21.
The ESM #01 that qualified P2 comes home after 10 hours of racing in P1 of the GT Class 30.68s ahead of Antonio Garcia driving the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. On the last leg, Toni Vilander piloted home the Ferrari F458 Italia he had shared driving duties with team owner Scott Sharp and season co-driving teammate Johannes van Overbeek. It is a bit fitting that the factory driver from Ferrari, who flew in from the mother country of Italy, was able to be the cherry on top of the American campaigned Ferrari team’s cake of a win in the Petit Le Mans which serves as the final race of the 2012 season. The #55 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW E92 M3 driven by Bill Auberlen came in third.
The #01 Ultimat Vodka/Action Against Hunger Ferrari 458 Italia started from the GT Class pole and was the dominant race car to beat during the endurance event. In his closing stint, Vilander had a 42 second lead with eight laps remaining in the race, but as the race came to a close, fuel strategy became an issue.
Vilander responded to the challenge and claimed his decisive win with only two liters of fuel remaining in the Ferrari’s tank.
The overall finishing position for the #01 Ferrari was 12th overall, out of 42 total entrants.
This win marks the second win for the #01 this season, with the other in July for Sharp and van Overbeek at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
This season, the #01 team has earned five third place finishes (Long Beach, Lime Rock, Road America, Baltimore, VIR) and two wins (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta). Based on this strong showing, Sharp and van Overbeek are ranked second in the very challenging ALMS GT driver’s championship.
The accolades continued at Road Atlanta with the #01 receiving the Michelin Green X Challenge Award for being the cleanest, fastest and most efficient race car in the GT class. ESM received the award during at Long Beach in April and at Virginia International Raceway in September.
On the other side of the ESM paddock, Ed Brown, Guy Cosmo and Anthony Lazzaro co-drivers of the #02 Ultimat Vodka/Action Against Hunger Ferrari 458 Italia. Cosmo initially qualified the #02 machine on the pole, but was forced to the back of the field at the start of the race after ALMS officials deemed to the #02 too low in ride height (by millimeters), thus failing post qualifying technical inspection. The low ride height was a result of a broken splitter that occurred during Friday’s qualifying session.
Cosmo wheeled the Ferrari and charged through and was running fourth before handing the Ferrari over to Brown. Unfortunately, time was lost in a driver change due to a problem with seatbelt adjustment, as well as an on-track penalty for Cosmo for “avoidable contact” with another competitor. Due to the time lost, the #02 finished the race in ninth place in the GT class.
A two hour recap of the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans, the final race of the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season, will air today, Sunday, October 21, at 1 p.m., on ABC.
… notes from The EDJE