Sebring: Oliver Gavin qualifying report

Gavin Pipped to GT1 Pole By Former Team Mate Magnussen "I'm disappointed we didn't get pole, but I say, 'Well done!' to Jan," said a very slightly disheartened Oliver Gavin after yesterday's qualifying session for Saturday's American Le Mans ...

Gavin Pipped to GT1 Pole By Former Team Mate Magnussen

"I'm disappointed we didn't get pole, but I say, 'Well done!' to Jan," said a very slightly disheartened Oliver Gavin after yesterday's qualifying session for Saturday's American Le Mans Series season-opener at Sebring, Florida.

Oliver was beaten by four tenths of a second by his former team mate, Jan Magnussen, and the #4 car will therefore start just behind its sister Corvette C6.R.

"It was a little bit frustrating," continued Oliver. "We made a change on our car before the session which was a bit of a gamble. We had gone with stiffer springs to the other car and I didn't like it. The rear of the car was much looser, something I usually don't mind too much but it was over steering in some strange places, such as the two fastest corners of the track. Quite unnerving!

"On my best lap I lost 2 or 3 tenths of a second to a Porsche, which was tooling round on the track, but ultimately I know where we lost the time before that to Jan and, even if I hadn't had the traffic, I wouldn't have beaten his time. He did a fantastic job straight out, first lap. I thought the tyres would come in to their best on the second or third quick lap, but he managed to do it on his first. I would have gone quicker on my third lap, but another Porsche made me drive all the way round the outside of the hairpin, I got rubbish all over my tyres, slid really wide and that was it. But it's a super long race so in the end where we start doesn't really make much of a difference."

It is, of course, the first time that Oliver has driven 'against' the Dane, rather than alongside him, as Magnussen is now paired with Johnny O'Connell for the 2007 season. Replacing him as the 'Ollies' endurance partner is Italian Max Papis who has been part of the Corvette family for many years.

"Max had been working well with me and Olivier on our first race together. We haven't managed to get him quite as much time in the car as we'd hoped -- he had a bit of a gearbox issue on the first day -- but he's fitting in fine," said Oliver.

After the afternoon's qualifying session, the paddock had a wait of several hours for the mandatory night practice. However, a storm of enormous proportions blew up in the intervening period. It not only stranded people for several hours wherever they were able to take shelter, but practice was delayed for an hour due to lying water on the track.

Fortunately the rain had stopped and the conditions improved enough for all to take place in the night session, and now Oliver and his team mates prepare themselves for the 12 hour race tomorrow.

-credit: fm

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Max Papis , Johnny O'Connell , Oliver Gavin