Corvettes Qualify Second and Fifth for American Le Mans Series Monterey
Milner Second Quickest in GT at Laguna Seca, Garcia Grabs Fifth on Final Qualifying Lap
MONTEREY, Calif., May 11, 2012 – Corvette Racing drivers Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia took different approaches to qualifying for Saturday's six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but both produced top-five results. Milner qualified the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R second in the GT class on his third hot lap with a time of 1:22.661 seconds. Garcia waited until his seventh lap around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette to clock in with a 1:22.919 for the fifth qualifying spot.
Garcia tied the time of Porsche driver Patrick Long, but Long was awarded the fourth position because he completed his fast lap before Garcia. Aston Martin driver Darren Turner took the GT pole with a time of 1:22.229.
"That was one of the best laps I've put together in my life," declared the delighted Milner. "I was hoping for a clear lap, I got one, and the cars ahead of me weren't dropping wheels off the track so I didn't have to contend with dirt in the corners. The Corvette is really, really good here, and the guys have done a great job fine tuning the setup to exactly what Oliver and I want."
Garcia was eighth after six laps, seventh after seven, and then the Spaniard vaulted to P5 on his final lap.
"This is the kind of track where the tires take a little while to come in, so I prefer to build up the grip gradually instead of pushing too early," Garcia explained. "This was my first qualifying run in the Corvette and my first low-fuel run in this car, and it felt really good. I think we have a strong car for the race and that is what we are looking for."
The race will begin at 1:30 p.m. and run to sunset. Changing track conditions will test the drivers and crews.
"Our plan in practice was to look toward the race and not worry about qualifying," Milner noted. "Ultimately qualifying worked out really well for us, but our focus was always on the race. In the final practice session we ran a set of tires past their normal life and they still held up well. I'm happy with qualifying, but I'm even more excited about the race."
The eight fastest qualifiers in the GT category were separated by .7 seconds, promising another fiercely competitive race in the third round of the ALMS.
"I think it's going to be another sprint race for six hours," Garcia predicted. "It doesn't really matter how long the race is in GT now, it's all-out from the start. A six-hour race will give Corvette Racing more opportunities to gain time on pit stops, that's a strong point of this team. If we put together a good race and make no mistakes, we have a good chance to win this race."