Sebring: Oliver Gavin race report

A WINNING START TO 2007 FOR OLIVER GAVIN AND CORVETTE RACING It was a perfect end to a perfect day -- victory at one of the American Le Mans Series' toughest tracks. Now that the champagne drops have dried, or been washed away (and his eyes...

A WINNING START TO 2007 FOR OLIVER GAVIN AND CORVETTE RACING

It was a perfect end to a perfect day -- victory at one of the American Le Mans Series' toughest tracks. Now that the champagne drops have dried, or been washed away (and his eyes have stopped stinging), a delighted Oliver reflects on victory in Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring.

After the torrential rainstorms and tornadoes of last Thursday and Friday, it was with some relief that a cool breeze and blue skies greeted everyone in Florida for the ALMS' season-opener. Oliver Gavin, his team mates Olivier Beretta and Max Papis, drove flawlessly all day in a very close, tooth and nail battle with their team-mates Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen and Ron Fellows.

An ecstatic Olly said, "It was a great day; really, hard work and we had an amazing, race-long battle with the #3 car. For us to race for 12 hours and only be separated by 20 seconds or something at the end is a real testament to the team, the cars and, I suppose, the drivers!

"I really enjoyed the racing. I had to be a bit more controlled in my first couple of stints, and be careful about how close we could get to the #3 car in front of us. We knew our best, and safest, chance to overtake them was in the pits (if strategy/yellows flags/luck played its part) and we got the break on Saturday. Max did a great in lap and I did a good out lap from the pits, and we managed to get ahead of them, and from then on I could really push.

"I had a great race with Jan and it was brilliant to race against him -- someone I've known and driven with for a long time, and someone I respect hugely as a driver. We had a good battle, and lots of fun!

"The team have got this new air conditioning unit in the car (mandatory now this year for the ACO sanctioned races, and at times you want to turn it off as it's working too well. I'd get out of the car and I wouldn't even be sweating! It's really fresh and nice to drive in. Olivier and Max did a brilliant job all day and didn't miss a beat so all in all it's a great way to start the season and great preparation for Le Mans. It couldn't have been a better test for us all."

The next battle between the two GM Corvette C6.R cars will take place on the 31st March at St Petersburg in Florida, round two of the American Le Mans Series.

-credit: fm/og

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Series ALMS
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Max Papis , Ron Fellows , Oliver Gavin , Olivier Beretta