Mid Ohio Race
Corvettes Shatter GTS Qualifying Record at Mid-Ohio
Oliver Gavin and Johnny O'Connell continue ALMS pole-setting streak
LEXINGTON, Ohio - The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team
posted record-setting qualifying times on Saturday afternoon at the Mid-Ohio
Sports Car Course. Oliver Gavin, driving the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R with
Olivier Beretta, shattered the previous GTS qualifying record; Gavin's time of
1:18.622 beat the 2001 record by over two seconds despite new rule changes that
restrict engine power. Johnny O'Connell, driving the #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R
with Ron Fellows, was close behind with a lap of 1:19.148, also beating the
previous record. The two-car Chevrolet team holds the lead for GTS Manufacturers',
Team and Drivers' points after a commanding victory at Sebring in March.
"Our biggest challenge for this weekend has been getting our equipment
back from France, preparing cars for this race and creating spares from the debris
of Le Mans," said Doug Fehan, GM's program manager for Corvette Racing.
"That has had our team working flat-out in a time that would normally be
reserved for R&R. Once again this is a testament to the hard work of this
team, which continues to keep Corvette on top of the sports car world."
The Corvettes set the fastest times in each practice leading up to Saturday
afternoon's qualifying session. While the Corvettes return to a very familiar
Mid-Ohio circuit, where the team won in 2001 and 2002, new track surfaces and
changes to the car have created a unique situation in which the circuit is almost
a brand-new environment. The Chevrolets also face new competition from two new
Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT race cars, entered by the Krohn-Barbour team.
"Frankly, I was surprised when I looked at my dashboard and saw my lap
time," said Oliver Gavin, driver of the #4 Corvette C5-R. "It was a
fairly smooth lap but I didn't carry the speed into Turn 1 that I would have
preferred. We hope to run a clean race, avoiding traffic, and hopefully we can
finish near the top. I'm happy that I have Olivier as my teammate as he's done a
fantastic job in the car and he's a very, very good driver."
Johnny O'Connell set a blistering qualifying lap and commented on the hard work
the team had done to create a balanced race car setup for the weekend.
"That was the best setup we've had in the car all weekend and I tip my hat
to the crew for their hard work," said O'Connell. "They've given Ron and
I a very good race car and we feel good about our chances here tomorrow."
The Corvette Racing team will begin the 2 hour, 45-minute race at Mid-Ohio on
Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
|Provisional Grid (GTS Class)
||#4 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
||#3 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
||#63 Saleen S7R
||#71 Dodge Viper GTS-R
||#5 Lamborghini Murcielago