Spa 24: Oliver Gavin qualifying report

FANTASTIC FUN FOR THE OLLIES A new team, Luc Alphand Aventures, and two new team mates, Vincent Vosse and Greg Franchi; a new set of regulations for the 24-hour event at Spa, round six of the FIA GT Championship. Everything else,...

FANTASTIC FUN FOR THE OLLIES

A new team, Luc Alphand Aventures, and two new team mates, Vincent Vosse and Greg Franchi; a new set of regulations for the 24-hour event at Spa, round six of the FIA GT Championship.

Everything else, however, is very familiar to Oliver Gavin. The Corvette C6R with which he and his good friend and regular team mate, Olivier Beretta, won the GT1 class of the 2006 American Le Mans Series; the superb 7km Spa-Francorchamps track; Beretta alongside him, both challenging for victory.

By the end of the three official qualifying sessions, two held last night and the third and final one this morning, Oliver's quickest time of 2:15.113 (set early in the first of the two night sessions) was good enough to place them third on the grid for the race. He lines up behind the Carsport Holland Corvette C6R of Mike Hezemans (who set pole in the final minutes of today's session) and the Jet Alliance Aston Martin DBR9 of Karl Wendlinger.

"It was all looking very good for a really quick lap but then I got traffic in the Pif Paf esses," said Olly after the session. "I was one of the first out of the pits but by the time you come through La Source on your first lap you can see all these cars in front of you which have just exited the pits. I was behind the Peka Racing Corvette into Pif Paf, and then came across a GT2 Ferrari and I think that definitely cost me the chance of making it an all Corvette front row.

"I only used one set of tyres and maybe, if I'd used another set, I could have had a real shot at pole position but tyre conservation is more important as they are limited in this Championship. As it's a 24 hour race, starting at the front is important but in reality it's not everything.

"The car is very, very good though. I reckon that on my first lap on new tyres, I had the highest grip level ever in a C6, anywhere that I've driven. It was fantastic fun and I LOVE this track! It was frustrating to get that bit of traffic but I had a huge smile on my face during the whole lap. I spoke to Vincent [Vosse] before the lap and he told me I had to be flat through Eau Rouge and flat through Blanchimont but I lifted just a tiny bit in both cases. Perhaps after a few more laps round here I won't be lifting!

"It's very close at the top of the time sheets, and I think qualifying shows the level of the field. I'm really looking forward to the race."

-credit: og/fm

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Series Endurance , Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Karl Wendlinger , Vincent Vosse , Oliver Gavin , Mike Hezemans , Luc Alphand , Greg Franchi