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Posted: 09/14/12 04:57 PM
Corvettes Qualify Third and Fourth for ALMS VIR 240
Gavin and Magnussen Claim Second Row in Fast and Furious Qualifying at VIR
ALTON, Va., Sept. 14, 2012 – Corvette Racing drivers Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen locked up the second row in GT qualifying for Saturday's VIR 240 at Virginia International Raceway. Gavin qualified the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R third in the 11-car GT field at 1:46.409 (110.630 mph). Magnussen qualified the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R fourth at 1:46.497 (110.538 mph) in the American Le Mans Series' first visit to the Virginia track. Johannes van Overbeek claimed the GT pole in the No. 01 Ferrari with a fast lap at 1:45.988 (111.069 mph).
The top four cars were separated by .509 seconds when the 15-minute qualifying session ended. Times plummeted nearly a second from the best laps turned in practice as the GT teams turned up the wick on the 3.27-mile circuit.
"Qualifying was fast and furious," Gavin said. "I don’t feel that I strung together the best lap. I might have got down to a low 1:46, but I kept missing bits, which frustrates me. Van Overbeek must have just nailed it on his pole lap."
Gavin set the pace in his second and third qualifying laps, but fell to third when van Overbeek and BMW driver Dirk Mueller posted quicker times on their fifth and fourth laps respectively.
"You want to get the time in the first lap because that's when the tires feel at their best, but the pressures aren't quite there and the car isn't settled," the Englishman explained. "Then the speed builds, but the more you run the car, the more it slides. Perhaps that's something we need to work on for the race."
Gavin and co-driver Tommy Milner will start the VIR 240 with a 28-point lead in the GT driver championship and could clinch the title with a top-two finish. "We're in a good spot, we're where we need to be to fight," Gavin noted. "The car's balance is good, and I think we can race everyone just as we have all season long. It's going to be a long, hard four-hour race, and there's not going to be much between anybody."
Magnussen also improved his lap times when it counted. "I improved, but others improved more," he quipped. "The No. 02 Ferrari spun in front of me, so I lost just a bit of time there. I got through the corner clean, but I couldn't see if he was coming back on the track, so I hesitated just a moment. Other than that it was a great lap, maybe it could have been a P2, but who knows? Qualifying here is excellent fun!"
"I had a small radio problem and couldn't communicate with the pits, so I didn't know where I was," Magnussen reported. "I'm quite happy with the balance of the car and I'm quite happy with the lap times. Obviously the Ferrari's pole lap was a bit of a shock, but the Corvettes and BMWs are right there, as usual. It should be an interesting race."
The four-hour American Le Mans Series VIR 240, the ninth round of the 10-race 2012 American Le Mans Series, will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 15. The race can be viewed live on ESPN3.com starting at 2:15 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will televise the race at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 16.
American Le Mans Series VIR 240 GT Qualifying (Top 10)
1. 01 Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari 458 Italia, 1:45.988
2. 56 D. Mueller/Summerton, BMW E92 M3, 1:46.359
3. 4 Gavin/Milner, Corvette C6.R, 1:46.409
4. 3 Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R, 1:46.497
5. 45 Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:46.583
6. 44 Neiman/Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:46.601
7. 55 J. Mueller/Auberlen, BMW E92 M3, 1:46.680
8. 17 Henzler/Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:48.014
9. 48 Miller/Maassen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:48.319
10. 23 Sweedler/Bell, Lotus Evora, 1:48.940