Corvette Racing qualifies on GTS second row at Petit Le Mans; Oliver Gavin and Ron Fellows qualify Chevrolet in rain-soaked Friday session. Atlanta -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team secured a position on the second row of the...
Corvette Racing qualifies on GTS second row at Petit Le Mans; Oliver Gavin and Ron Fellows qualify Chevrolet in rain-soaked Friday session.
Atlanta -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team secured a position on the second row of the GTS grid during qualifying on Friday before Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Chevrolet factory drivers Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim will start Saturday's race from the fourth position in the GTS class, 16th overall, after qualifying the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R at 1:29:574. Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Franck Freon will start the 1,000-mile race from the sixth position in class, or 19th overall on the 38-car grid, after qualifying their #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R at 1:30:230.
"We're where we want to be in terms of setup," said Doug Fehan, GM's program manager for Corvette Racing. "The conditions worked against us today, and although we would have liked to have posted the fastest time during qualifying, we are looking toward securing the top spot on Saturday."
With five GTS victories to date in the American Le Mans Series in 2003, the factory-backed Chevrolet team is on the brink of capturing a third consecutive manufacturers' crown; Corvette has to finish in the third position in class to clinch the title. Drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell go into this weekend's Petit Le Mans with the GTS drivers' title locked, while Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins, driving the #4 Corvette C5-R along with Andy Pilgrim, hope to protect their second position in the drivers' standings with an impressive showing on Saturday.
Corvette proved to be the fastest GTS competitor after taking part in three official practice sessions on Thursday before Petit Le Mans. Both Corvettes set blistering laps and were set to achieve the top spot on the GTS grid until rain complicated the 20-minute qualifying session.
"We could have used more time on the track with our intermediate tires," said Oliver Gavin, driver of the #4 Corvette C5-R. "We simply did not get enough heat in our tires over the course of the session. But when it comes to a 10-hour race, qualifying is only marginally important and I believe the GM Racing engineers have given us a great setup for Saturday. Kelly, Andy and I are looking forward to the race."
The Corvette Racing team will take to the track Saturday morning for a warmup session before staring the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans at 11:30 a.m.