Ravetto: Caterham have performed miracles to get this far

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Newly-appointed Caterham F1 boss Manfredi Ravetto believes that the team has performed small miracles to survive following its sale by former owner Tony Fernandes.

After months of denying that he was set to pull the plug on his F1 programme, Fernandes sold Caterham to a consortium at the beginning of July in a deal brokered by former F1 team principal Colin Kolles.

Since then, there have been a number of staffing changes at Caterham, resulting in a group of released employees launching legal action against the team. Ravetto took charge of the team following Christijan Albers’ resignation after just two months as team principal, with his exit appearing to sum up affairs at the backmarker team.

However, in an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Ravetto said that even getting to this point and saving the team has been an incredible achievement.

“My feeling is that with the previous owners having already pulled the plug in a quite evident way, the team did not believe anymore that they would race at Silverstone,” Ravetto said. “There is some additional evidence for that, but not only did we manage to race at Silverstone, we also did the test at Silverstone and made it to Singapore.

“In the meantime we have also made some significant improvements to the car – some significant improvements in terms of restructuring – and we keep fighting.

“I think we have done a small miracle to bring it to where it is. I think we also did a small miracle by improving the performance and being ahead of Marussia in terms of speed and very close to Lotus and Sauber. We are set to deliver miracles.”

Contrary to speculation, Ravetto also confirmed that plans for the team’s 2015 season are already in place, with a car currently being tested at Toyota’s wind tunnel in Germany.

“We are currently testing our 2015 car in Cologne, at Toyota’s wind tunnel,” he said. “Obviously you cannot run your car in Cologne just because of our extremely nice attitude. You only can do this with an injection of cash, which we did.

“And if we do this it means that we are fully committed to being here next year. Let me explain some of the reasoning: a Formula 1 team and a Formula 1 entry are huge assets, and therefore you have to do your maximum to protect these assets.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III