Magnussen Takes GT1 Pole in Long Beach ALMS
Both Corvettes Eclipse Previous Track Records on Waterfront Street Circuit
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Jan Magnussen will start on the pole in the GT1 division for Saturday’s Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race on the Long Beach street circuit. Magnussen shattered the track qualifying record with a fast lap at 1:17.059 (91.940 mph) in the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R. Oliver Gavin also eclipsed the mark he set last year at 1:18.145 with a quick lap at 1:17.465 (91.458 mph) in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R, but ultimately came up .406 seconds short of Magnussen’s mark.
“It was a really enjoyable lap – I was out there close to the walls, braking late, and riding the curbs,” Magnussen said after notching his seventh career ALMS pole. “I’m sure I could have massaged the lap a little bit and improved my time, but then you get into the gray area where you might have a faster lap or you might have a broken car.”
“We’ve been fast since we got here,” said the Dane. “We were faster than last year from the get-go.”
Gavin set the pace on the first three flying laps on the 1.968-mile temporary course, but Magnussen responded with a quicker time on the fourth circuit. His fifth and final qualifying lap produced the pole-winning time.
“I was very cautious during the first three laps because we’d set the tire pressures a little low to try to have a couple of stabs at the pole,” Magnussen explained. “It worked out well – when the Michelins came in, my Corvette was perfect.”
Gavin bettered the qualifying record he set last year by .680 seconds.
“My qualifying run looked like it was going to be trouble-free, but just as the tires were coming in the traffic began to appear,” Gavin said. “That was frustrating, but everybody has to be out there. It seemed I had to pass a car every lap, and it never quite came together.”
“I made a couple of mistakes, running a bit wide in Turn 4 on one lap and wide in Turn 9 on my last lap,” he conceded. “That cost me a few tenths, but I don’t know whether we could have ultimately beaten Jan’s very quick time.”
“The race tomorrow should be quite interesting because we’ve gone a different way with our setup strategy than the other car,” Gavin revealed. “It could be good or it could be detrimental, we’ll just have to wait and see. The track certainly hasn’t rubbered up as much as I had hoped it would. It’s been quite slippery and it’s difficult to get the power down coming off the corners.”
The Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series, the third round of the 11-race ALMS, is scheduled to start at 4:10 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 19. ABC will broadcast the 100-minute race tape-delayed from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 20.
Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series GT1 Qualifying:
1. O’Connell/Magnussen, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:17.059/91.940 mph
2. Gavin/Beretta, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, 1:17.465/91.458 mph
Release Date: April 18, 2008