Corvette captures GTS victory at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivi0x00e8res American sports car icon remains undefeated in the American Le Mans Series for 2003 Trois-Rivieres, Quebec -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team won the GTS ...
Corvette captures GTS victory at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivi0x00e8res
American sports car icon remains undefeated in the American Le Mans Series for 2003
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec -- The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team won the GTS class at Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on Sunday afternoon. Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins, driving the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R, claimed their second victory of the season and Chevrolet's 36th win at Le Circuit Trois-Rivieres. After starting second in class to the rival Ferrari team, Collins and Gavin paced their Corvette throughout the hot afternoon and were able to capture the lead in the final thirty minutes of the race. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, driving the #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R, held the lead in the class for the majority of the race but lost position after a crucial pit stop. Gavin was able to beat Fellows out of the pit lane and held on to the lead for the remainder of the 3-hour event. The victory maintains Corvette's undefeated streak in the GTS class of the American Le Mans Series for 2003.
"With a finish like this one, it shows the power and reliability of both our Corvettes," said Doug Fehan, GM's program manager for the two-car Corvette Racing team. "We spend a lot of time developing the optimum racing setup for both cars and we obviously found that today. GM's premier factory racing team has once again shown its credibility on the world's stage, and I think we are all looking forward to another intense battle with our competitors at the next race in Mosport."
While both Chevrolets set the fastest times in practice sessions throughout the weekend, the two yellow Corvettes started second and fourth from the GTS grid on Sunday afternoon. After the leading Ferrari lost position during a pit stop, the two Corvettes took over the lead and never looked back. During another pit stop with thirty minutes remaining, Oliver Gavin was able to get his #4 Corvette out in front of Ron Fellows in the #3 Corvette. Gavin and Collins finished the race in the fourth position overall, besting all GTS competitors and the entire field of prototype LMP 675 cars in the process.
"After winning the inaugural race for the ALMS at Trois-Rivieres last year, there is nothing better than coming back to claim another victory for Chevrolet," said Kelly Collins, driver of the #4 Corvette C5-R. "We are learning throughout the season that although we battle very closely with the Ferraris, the intensity within the Corvette program is its own story worth telling. Each Corvette in our program now has two wins apiece, so one can imagine that it is going to be a close battle until the end of the year."
The drivers from the #3 Corvette, who started from back of the GTS pack but were able to capture the lead after the one-hour mark, fell victim to an untimely pit stop and finished the race in second place for the GTS class.
"The Corvettes are so evenly matched that getting out in front after a pit stop is important," said Fellows. "This circuit is so tight and it demands patience in traffic to get around the smaller cars safely. That might have hurt us a bit in the end as we tried to catch up to the other Corvette. It is disappointing for Johnny and me not to win, but a great day for Corvette. We are one team with two cars and when one of our cars crosses the finish line first, the whole team can celebrate."
The Corvette Racing team will take to the track again in two week's time, for Round 5 of the American Le Mans Series at the Grand Prix of Mosport in Canada.