Corvette Takes 1-2 GTS Finish at Mid-Ohio
Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell finish third overall
LEXINGTON, Ohio – The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team claimed a decisive 1-2 GTS victory at Round 2 of the American Le Mans Series at Mid-Ohio. Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell, driving the #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R, won and finished a remarkable third overall, matching the ALMS all-time record for the highest GTS finish on the overall grid. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta, driving the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R, placed second after starting the race from pole position and leading briefly in the beginning. The win maintains Corvette’s winning streak in 2004 after victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We’re very proud of the team today,” said Harry Turner, GM’s group manager for road racing. “The engineers put in long hours and the crew was out there practicing pit stops until late in the night to be able to get this win. We still have some work to do to further develop the car but I think we have to be very happy with this result. This was a total team effort from everyone at Corvette.”
After breaking track records in qualifying, the Corvettes held the lead from flag to flag. The #4 Corvette led for the first stint until an untimely yellow-flag caution period caught the team out of its pit strategy; Gavin had just stopped to hand the car over to Olivier Beretta, and the #4 team effectively lost one lap to the field. Ron Fellows was able to capitalize and brought his #3 Corvette into the pits for a driver change and Johnny O’Connell did a masterful job to hold on to the lead for the remainder of the race.
“We had a strong car and Ron and I owe a lot to the team today,” said O’Connell. “Once we had the lead, I was able to control my pace and stay up front. I think both of our cars were matched well today and we happened to get a bit of luck which helped us out. We’re looking forward to going to Lime Rock this weekend.”
Olivier Beretta did his best to close the gap between the two Corvettes after finding himself a lap back due to a caution flag. The Monegasque set blistering laps but was unable to catch the #3 Corvette of O’Connell. His run was delayed in part by a slower lapped Saleen S7R which held him up for laps before Beretta finally passed.
“We had some bad luck today as we chose to take a pit stop at exactly the wrong moment,” said Beretta. “Also we were held up a bit by another car – I hope that next time he does a better job of looking in his mirrors. Oliver and I are very much looking forward to racing this next weekend.”
The Corvette Racing team will return to competition at Lime Rock Park on July 2.
|Provisional Results (GTS Class)|
|1||#3 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R||O’Connell, Fellows||118|
|2||#4 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R||Gavin, Beretta||118|
|3||#63 Saleen S7R||Borcheller, Mowlem||113|
|4||#5 Lamborghini Murcielago||Brabham, Kox||113|
|n/a||#6 Lamborghini Murcielago||Krohn, Maxwell||DNS|
|n/a||#71 Dodge Viper GTS-R||Belloc, Weickardt||DNS|