Oliver Gavin becomes 12th GTLM pole winner in 12 races.
Daytona Beach, Fla.– OIiver Gavin gave Corvette Racing its first pole at Daytona International Speedway since 2000, in the process extending an impressive streak that highlights the competitiveness of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, Friday in qualifying for the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona.
With his lap of one minute, 43.488 seconds (123.840 mph) in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, Gavin became the 12th different pole winner in 12 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races, dating back to last year’s Rolex 24 – the inaugural TUDOR Championship event.
“It's a very competitive class, I think they all are,” said Gavin, who earned his first TUDOR Championship pole, his 21st career in North American endurance sports car racing. “That's the depth of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship; there are plenty of great drivers and great teams out there.
“I have to thank (teammate) Jan [Magnussen]; he towed me around a lot on that lap and helped me get this pole position, so I have to thank him for that. I tried to repay him by towing him around for a few laps. I just had a little bit of extra straight-line speed.”
Gavin used the draft to shoot to the top of the leaderboard early in the 15-minute session, besting the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni by 0.342 seconds. After leading early in the session, Bruni turned his fastest lap of 1:43.830 (123.433 mph) shortly after Gavin’s flyer, narrowly edging Pedro Lamy in the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Gulf Aston Martin Vantage, 1:43.960 (123.278 mph).
John Edwards qualified fourth in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTE, 1:43.966 (123.271 mph), making it four different automotive manufacturers in the first two rows.
Davison drives Aston Martin Vantage to fifth consecutive GTD TOTAL Pole Award
James Davison took advantage of a mid-session red flag to steal his fifth consecutive TOTAL Pole Award in the GT Daytona (GTD) class dating back to last season. After the wheel fell off of Kuno Wittmer’s No. 93 Riley Motorsports TI Automotive Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R seven minutes into the 15-minute session, teams had only three minutes to run one final lap before the end of qualifying.
While several teams opted not to go out for the final minutes, Davison did and promptly put the No. 007 TRG-AMR LaSalle/Royal Purple/Orion Energy Aston Martin Vantage on the pole with a lap of one minute, 47.272 (119.472 mph).
“I’m blown away we ended up on pole, to be honest,” said Davison, the leader in TUDOR Championship poles. “We waited in the pits and it went red, so I only had a lap to pull it off. Obviously the car was good and I hit my marks, but we were a bit lucky to pull it off.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen, who had the top spot prior to the red flag, qualified second with a lap of 1:47.424 (119.303 mph) while Christopher Zoechling qualified third at 1:47.451 (119.273 mph) in Konrad Motorsports’ No. 28 Porsche 911 GT America.
The 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona is the season-opening TUDOR Championship event and also the opening round of the four-race Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.