Corvettes Qualify Fourth and Fifth for ALMS Season Finale
Gavin and Garcia Separated by .021 Seconds in Intense Petit Le Mans GT Qualifying Session
BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 19, 2012 – Corvette Racing drivers Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia qualified the twin Compuware Corvette C6.Rs for Saturday's season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta with nearly identical lap times. Gavin put the No. 4 Corvette C6.R fourth on the GT grid with a 1:19.065 lap time (115.652 mph) on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course. Garcia was just .021 seconds behind his teammate with a time of 1:19.086 (115.621 mph) that secured the fifth spot in the production-based GT category for the No. 3 Corvette C6.R.
Guy Cosmo captured the GT pole in the No. 02 Ferrari with a track record qualifying time of 1:18.677 (116.222 mph). The top six GT qualifiers were separated by less than half a second.
"GT qualifying was very close, as always," said Gavin, who ran his quickest time on his fifth flying lap. "Antonio helped me out massively; he was caught behind a Porsche and I was catching them both quickly. He moved over at just the right spot going into Turn 10, which meant that I got a clean run through to the front straight. Then when I felt my tires were at their best, I caught traffic in the chicane, which killed my speed onto the straight for my next lap. Perhaps there was a tenth of a second in that, but we weren't going to beat the Ferraris today.
"The final race of the year, qualifying fourth – we'll take that," the Englishman declared. "We've won from farther back on the grid this year. It's a long race, and there will probably be plenty of action just in the first corner, so we'll need to have our wits about us."
Garcia had to contend with traffic throughout his qualifying run, and nailed his quickest time on his eighth and final flying lap.
"My fastest lap was at the end of the stint, so that means that our car is very competitive," Garcia explained. "That's where we have focused during the week, and we have a fast race car. We knew the Ferraris were going to be strong in qualifying. If we had put everything together, we might have been a little closer to the front.
"Petit Le Mans is one of the longest races of the year and it doesn't really matter where you start," he observed. "After the first round of pit stops, everyone will be mixed up. We have a very competitive car, very driveable, and we proved that today by doing competitive times through the entire qualifying session."
The 10-hour/1,000-mile Petit Le Mans, the season finale of the 2012 American Le Mans Series, will start at 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 20. The race can be viewed live on ESPN3.com starting at 11:15 a.m. ET. ABC will televise the race at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Petit Le Mans GT Qualifying (Top 10)
1. 02 Brown/Cosmo/Lazzaro, Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:18.677
2. 01 Sharp/van Overbeek/Vilander, Ferrari 458 Italia, 1:18.729
3. 55 J. Mueller/Auberlen/Summerton, BMW E92 M3, 1:18.972
4. 4 Gavin/Milner/Westbrook, Corvette C6.R, 1:19.065
5. 3 Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor, Corvette C6.R, 1:19.086
6. 92 Goossens/Kendall/Bomarito, SRT Viper GTSR, 1:19.145
7. 45 Bergmeister/Long/Pilet, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:19.225
8. 56 D. Mueller/Alzen/Summerton, BMW E92 M3, 1:19.261
9. 44 Neiman/Holzer/Tandy, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:19.524
10. 91 Wittmer/Farnbacher/Hunter-Reay, SRT Viper GTSR, 1:19.839