Watkins Glen II: Bell Motorsports Thursday report

Kodak EasyShare Team to Start Sixth Tomorrow after Qualifying is Rained Out Thursday Afternoon WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Aug. 12 -Oliver Gavin, who along with Jan Magnussen and Olivier Beretta won the GTS class at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans ...

Kodak EasyShare Team to Start Sixth Tomorrow after Qualifying is Rained Out Thursday Afternoon

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Aug. 12 -Oliver Gavin, who along with Jan Magnussen and Olivier Beretta won the GTS class at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans for Corvette, got his first taste of Daytona Prototype racing Thursday at Watkins Glen International and took to it like a duck to water.

That's good news for the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need/Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac team and co-driver Terry Borcheller, especially since qualifying was rained out and water seems to be everywhere on and around the Glen's 2.45-mile short course.

Series officials opted to set the field by team points instead of risking unnecessary damage to any of the 33 entries for tomorrow night's race, which will be broadcast on a same-day, tape-delayed basis on SPEED at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

That means the team, which won this race last year and is the defending series champion, will start sixth overall and in the Daytona Prototype class. Gavin is slated to start, with Borcheller driving second. Forest Barber is on hand here too and will drive third if necessary, but he said he doesn't anticipate competing tomorrow night.

Borcheller holds the fastest-race-lap record here with a 1:10.699 (124.754 mph), but he ran faster than that on Thursday in practice.

In the first practice session the team was fourth overall with a 1:14.468 (118.440 mph). In the second practice session the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54 tripped the timing light at 1:09.619 (126.690 mph). The car was one of only four entries and the only Daytona Prototype to participate in the third session, topping the charts with a 1:20.575 (109.463) in the rain. In the one-hour evening session the team set the third-fastest time with a 1:20.918.

Tomorrow's race is scheduled to begin around 6 p.m., right after NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying, and will end at 8:30 p.m. The starting time may move up if NASCAR quals are rained out.

Quotes follow:

Terry Borcheller: "The car is consistent. We're very pleased with the progress that we made today.

"It's great having Oliver on board. His ability to adapt to a new car quickly, his feedback on the set-up helped tremendously, and just for his friendship; it's great driving with him again.

"The car is totally different compared to where we were at Mid-Ohio. The car wasn't even close to feeling right there, but now it feels pretty good. At no point did I feel like I was just hanging on anywhere, and we're fast."

Oliver Gavin: "Today has been soggy, that's for sure, but I've enjoying working with the team and it's a fun car to drive. I think I've seen the fun side of this type of racing today; the forecast is for more rain tomorrow, but I'm from England and I have raced in the rain a lot.

"The car is oversteering more than anything right now, but things are going well. I hope we can get on the podium tomorrow. That's certainly the goal."

Forest Barber: "I think we're in pretty good shape. We made progress all day long; it's good!"

Jim Bell: "Oliver did the majority of the laps today. We wanted to get him accustomed to the car. I would have to look over the charts to be sure, but Terry did about 15 or 18 laps today and Oliver did the rest, and the car probably did about 80 laps today in all.

"We wanted to give Oliver as many laps as possible. You have to keep an eye on the Corvette drivers, you know."

-lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Terry Borcheller , Oliver Gavin , Forest Barber , Olivier Beretta