Oliver Gavin puts Chevrolet in GTS Pole position for Sonoma Corvette breaks record in shortened qualifying session at Infineon Raceway Sonoma, Ca. -- Corvette Racing's C5-R powered Oliver Gavin to the fastest speed in qualifying for the GTS...
Oliver Gavin puts Chevrolet in GTS Pole position for Sonoma
Corvette breaks record in shortened qualifying session at Infineon Raceway
Sonoma, Ca. -- Corvette Racing's C5-R powered Oliver Gavin to the fastest speed in qualifying for the GTS class today at Infineon Raceway. Gavin will start Sunday's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma from the first row of the GTS class after qualifying the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R at 1:30:609, or 100.520 mph. His time eclipsed the qualifying lap record, set in 2002 by Ron Fellows, by over one second despite new rule changes that restrict engine power. Fellows, driving the #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R, was unable to complete a full lap at speed as the session was cut short due to an accident on the 2.53-mile track; his time of 1:41:836 qualified his car in the fourth position for the GTS class, or 28th overall.
"We changed the setup on our cars after an early practice session and it really worked well for Oliver Gavin in qualifying," said Steve Wesoloski, GM's lead chassis engineer for Corvette Racing. "Ron possibly erred on the side of being patient to wait for a slower GT car in front of him during the early part of the session. Unfortunately he wasn't able to get a fast lap recorded. All of us on the team are certain we've got a good race car and Oliver's time proves that our new cars have what it takes. We've been testing long runs all weekend and I think we'll be in good shape for tomorrow."
Qualifying was cut short by nearly ten minutes after an accident near Turn 10 forced organizers to red flag the session. As most teams in the GT and GTS classes started the session in the pit lane, waiting for track conditions to improve, many were caught out of their qualifying strategy and had to settle for less than desirable lap times. As a result, Sunday's grid appears rather unusual as the majority of the faster GTS cars will start behind the smaller GT cars.
"We had a little bit of luck on our part to get on the track early enough to get some flying laps, but it was really another smart call by our team," said Oliver Gavin, driver of the #4 Corvette C5-R. "The track was still a bit dirty in the early part of qualifying from an earlier accident, so we waited a few minutes and they sent me out, thinking that the GT cars had cleaned up the track. The boys worked really hard on setup and we learned a good deal from yesterday's session. I think that Kelly and I are glad that we're starting the race from the pole, but there's no doubt that it will be a good battle with the Ferraris once they can snake their way through the GT cars."
Gavin's fast time marks his second GTS pole position of the season; both pole positions have broken previous lap records. He is currently tied for first place in the GTS drivers' championship along with fellow Corvette drivers Kelly Collins, Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell.
The Corvette Racing team will take to the track Sunday morning for a practice session before staring the 2-hour, 45-minute Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at 12:00 p.m.