08-25-2007: Gavin Wins GT1 Pole in Battle of Corvettes at Grand Prix of Mosport
Source: Corvette Racing
Fellows Qualifies Second at Home Track
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario - Race fans were seeing triple today at Mosport International Raceway as three Corvettes battled for the GT1 pole for Sunday's Grand Prix of Mosport. Ron Fellows' Arctic White No. 33 Compuware Corvette C6.R split the two familiar Velocity Yellow Corvette C6.Rs of Oliver Gavin and Johnny O'Connell. Gavin won his fourth ALMS pole of the season and the 15th of his career in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R and O'Connell qualified third in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. The trio was separated by less than a quarter of a second on the fast 2.459-mile Mosport circuit.
Gavin was first out at the start of the 20-minute session. The Englishman quickly put his fastest lap on the board on his second circuit at 1:13.857 (119.859 mph), and O'Connell countered with a 1:14.097 (119.470 mph). The two were unable to improve their times on subsequent laps, but Fellows' white car was the wild card. Going onto the track after his stable mates had run their fast laps, Fellows ran a 1:14.005 time on his third lap. Encountering traffic on his next flyer, the Canadian ace was unable to knock Gavin off the pole.
"It's always great to qualify at Mosport with new tires, low fuel, and so many high-speed corners," said Gavin, who previously won GT1 poles at Mosport in 2003 and 2004. "You always feel challenged by the track and by the competition. With top drivers like Ron and Johnny to race against, I'm very pleased to have got the pole."
"I was surprised by how quickly the tires came in," Gavin revealed. "I made a little bit of a mistake in Turn 5 and thought maybe I could have got a little more out of it. I think everywhere else I wrung the car's neck and got the maximum from it."
Fellows delighted the partisan Canadian crowd with his qualifying run. He's reunited with former teammate Andy Pilgrim in the No. 33 Corvette C6.R that celebrates the special edition Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Corvette Z06.
"I had a really good lap going but I just didn't get it when the tires were at their best," Fellows said. "The Corvette C6.R is very good and we've been quite aggressive. When you're running laps at 1:14-flat, that's really fast at this place."
"I'm having great fun, talking strategy and setup with my chief engineer, Doug Louth," said the master of Mosport. "We hung back a little at the start of the session because Doug wanted to make sure that we had the tire pressures just right. Then it's up to the driver to find a spot in traffic, and I didn't quite find the right spot."
O'Connell is teamed with Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R, a pairing that won the LMP1 class at Mosport in 1999.
"I think we were a little bit faster than we showed in qualifying, but there are three Corvettes and they're all within three tenths, and that says a lot for Corvette Racing," said O'Connell. "I was pleased with my car in qualifying and I think we've improved it a lot. One of the GT2 cars was parked in Turn 8 on my fast lap, so I was disappointed when that happened. But I feel very good about our race car, and we'll see what happens."
After two days of intermittent rain, the outlook for race day is promising. Gavin is mindful of the possible effects of the weather on the racing surface during the two-hour, 45-minute race.
"The track is very green because of all the rain, and it's going to be a very interesting race tomorrow as more rubber goes down on the track," Gavin explained. "The balance of the car is going to change significantly throughout the race."
The Grand Prix of Mosport presented by Mobil 1, the ninth round of the 12-race ALMS series, will start at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 26. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel.
Grand Prix of Mosport presented by Mobil 1 GT1 Qualifying:
- Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:13.857/119.859 mph
- Fellows/Pilgrim, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:14.005/119.619 mph
- O'Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:14.097/119.470 mph