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04-13-2007: Gavin Captures GT1 Pole on the Streets of Long Beach
Source: GM Media

Oliver Edges Magnussen in Inaugural ALMS Long Beach Street Race

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Oliver Gavin proved to be a quick learner in his first visit to the Long Beach temporary street circuit. Although he had never driven the 1.968-mile course before this morning's 45-minute practice session, Gavin captured the GT1 class pole in the American Le Mans Series' debut at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Gavin earned his 12th career ALMS pole in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R with a quick lap at 1:18.215 (90.662 mph). He edged Jan Magnussen by .230 seconds as the Dane turned a fast lap at 1:18.445 in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R.

"I did some research and talked to drivers who've raced here before, and it's really helped," said Gavin. "On some street circuits you have to search around to find grip and a fast line, but Long Beach is fairly straightforward. It was difficult to read the circuit because we had only one short practice session this morning, so we had to make an educated guess on the changes we needed to make for qualifying."

Gavin and Magnussen each turned six timed laps, and both drivers recorded their quickest times on the fifth circuit.

"When I went out, I was desperate to find some clear space because we've been caught up in traffic in the past," Gavin explained. "Fortunately I didn't have any issues with traffic today. I caught only one car, and I was able to pass it on the straight. The chassis was really good, and our engineer, Steve Cole, has done a great job with the setup of the Corvette C6.R."

Magnussen has raced previously in Long Beach, and was ahead of his teammate on the qualifying list for the first four timed laps.

"Obviously we would have liked a little more time to improve the car, but that's how it is in qualifying - you only get one shot," said the Danish driver.

"The track changed quite a bit since this morning, with a lot of cars running on different rubber, but the balance of my Corvette C6.R was very good. I think we made good changes after the practice session, but we need to do just a little more fine tuning for the car to be 100 percent."

The ALMS race at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the third round of the 12-race series, is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET) on Saturday, April 14. The one-hour, 40-minute race will be televised in a same-day broadcast on SPEED from 8 to 10:30 p.m. ET.