Corvettes Qualify Sixth and Seventh for ALMS Petit Le Mans
Magnussen and Beretta Separated by .077 Seconds in Twin Corvette C6.Rs
BRASELTON, Ga. – Corvette Racing drivers Jan Magnussen and Olivier Beretta qualified sixth and seventh respectively for Saturday’s 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans, the season finale of the 2010 American Le Mans Series. Today’s 25-minute GT qualifying session was held in warm and sunny conditions on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta circuit. The twin Corvettes were separated by just .077 seconds, with Magnussen qualifying sixth at 1:20.598 in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, and Beretta close behind in seventh at 1:20.675 in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R.
Jaime Melo led a quartet of Ferraris in GT2 qualifying with a pole-winning time of 1:19.889. The No. 90 BMW was fifth, and the No. 45 Porsche eighth among the 17 entries in the hotly contested production-based class.
Both Corvettes went out as soon as the green flag signaled the start of the 25-minute GT qualifying session. Magnussen clocked his quickest time on his fifth lap, while Beretta’s best lap was his eighth. The two Corvettes pitted briefly, then took the unusual step of going back out in pursuit of quicker times, but neither driver was able to improve on subsequent laps.
“It was difficult to get clear laps,” Magnussen said. “The Ferraris backed up on the laps when I should have had fast lap times, and that messed up my qualifying run a little. When I finally did get a clear lap, the tires were just past their peak.”
“I’m quite pleased with the car, and everything worked well,” Magnussen reported. “It’s just a shame that we couldn’t show its full potential, so we’ll do that tomorrow in the race.”
Beretta made a dozen laps before the conclusion of qualifying. “After I did my good lap, I wanted to improve it,” Beretta said. “That was my time to go, but I had traffic in front of me and had to slow down. Then I tried again, but it is never the same.”
“The race will be long, and we have to work hard tomorrow,” Beretta added. “The two Corvettes are close on lap times, and I think we will be strong in the race. We are still a long way from the end.”
The 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans, the season finale of the 2010 American Le Mans Series, will start at 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 2, at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. The race will be televised live on SPEED starting at 11 a.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio, Sirius Channel 127, and XM Channel 242.
Petit Le Mans GT Qualifying (Top 10):
1. Fisichella/Melo/Salo, Ferrari 430 GT, 1:19.889
2. Vilander/Bruni, Ferrari 430 GT, 1:20.070
3. Brown/Cosmo/Barbosa, Ferrari 430 GT, 1:20.165
4. Sharp/van Overbeek/Farnbacher, Ferrari 430 GT, 1:20.185
5. Mueller/Hand/Priaulx, BMW M3 GT, 1:20.322
6. Gavin/Magnussen/Collard, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:20.598
7. Beretta/O’Connell/Garcia, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:20.675
8. Bergmeister/Long/Lieb, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:20.768
9. Murry/Bell/Lazzaro, Ford GT, 1:20.777
10. Auberlen/Milner/Werner, BMW M3 GT, 1:20.812
Release Date: October 1, 2010