Corvettes Second and Fourth in Road America ALMS Qualifying
Fellows and Gavin Eclipse Track Record in Fast Qualifying Session
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Ron Fellows and Oliver Gavin both ran quicker than the GT1 track qualifying record in their Compuware Corvette C6.Rs today at Road America, but they weren’t quite quick enough to take the pole for Sunday’s Generac 500. Fellows broke the 2-minute barrier at the fast 4.0-mile circuit and posted the second quickest time in the GT1 division at 1:59.814 (121.629 mph). Gavin will start fourth in the class with a 2:00.062 (121.377 mph) qualifying run. Both eclipsed the 2:00.328 GT1 track record set one year ago by Gavin.
Stephane Sarrazin won the pole in an Aston Martin DBR9 at 1:59.638 and his teammate Tomas Enge was third at 1:59.972. The four GT1 contenders were separated by just .424 seconds.
“My engineer, Joe Kiefer, made some changes before qualifying, and my car was really, really good,” said Fellows. “It had tremendous grip. I’d been having a bit of trouble in Turn 14, so I made sure I didn’t overdrive that corner and throw it away. It was a good lap, but not quite good enough to beat the Aston Martin.”
“I don’t know what Enge was thinking; he ran into the side of my car going into the last corner,” the Canadian reported. “If he wants to play hockey, he’s messing with the wrong guy.”
Both Corvette C6.Rs were quicker than they were last year at Road America in spite of performance adjustments imposed by the sanctioning body.
“Considering that our cars are nearly 200 pounds heavier and we’re running with 35 less horsepower that last year, it’s a testament to the hard work of the team that we’re able to turn faster lap times,” noted Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. “We were unable to capture the pole, but with the performance handicaps that are now in place, that’s not surprising.”
“The race will depend on good strategy, smart driving, great pit stops and perfect execution,” Fehan noted. “I think we have cars that the drivers can run hard for two hours and 45 minutes. We’ll see what happens.”
Gavin was quicker than his pole-winning time in 2005, but found himself fourth on the GT1 grid.
“I got two good, clear laps, but just not quite good enough,” Gavin said. “Hats off to Stephane, Ron and Tomas for doing great jobs.”
“I felt confident in my car after practice, but perhaps the front tire pressure didn’t come up quite enough so we were struggling a little with understeer. It’s going to be very close in the race, with only four tenths of a second between us in a 2-minute lap. We’re going to have to race hard throughout the race.”
Earlier today crew chief Dan Binks and the crew of the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R qualified for the championship round of the Klein Tools Pit Crew Challenge. They will defend their pit crew championship in the series’ season finale in Monterey, Calif., in October.
Following Fellows’ fast qualifying run, Binks radioed to the crew, “We have a pretty good hot rod, it’s all in one piece, and I think we’ll be all right.”
Fellows and Fehan would agree.
The Generac 500 at Road America, the seventh round of the 10-race 2006 American Le Mans Series, will start at 2 p.m. CDT (3 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, Aug. 20. The two-hour, 45-minute race will be televised live on SPEED Channel at 3 p.m. EDT.
Generac 500 at Road America GT1 Qualifying:
1. Lamy/Sarrazin, Aston Martin DBR9, 1:59.638/121.807 mph
2. Fellows/O’Connell, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:59.814/121.629 mph
3. Enge/Turner, Aston Martin DBR9, 1:59.972/121.468 mph
4. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 2:00.062/121.377 mph
Release Date: August 19, 2006