Big Steps Forward For Olly At Mid Ohio

Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin qualified third on the hugely competitive GT grid for tomorrow’s Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the sixth round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series.  The position equals his best starting position of the year so far at Laguna Seca in May.

The 37-year-old Briton will start the No. 4 Corvette third after setting a fastest time of 1:20.019, closely followed by his Corvette team mate, Jan Magnussen.  Toni Vilander won the GT pole in the No 61 Risi Competizione Ferrari 430 GT with the fastest lap in the 20-minute session at 1:19.682, and the sister No. 62 Ferrari was second quickest.

Olly turned his best time on his third flying lap, and held the pole until the Ferraris posted their times in the closing minutes.  “It really feels great to be back in the game, and to be in position to battle with the competition,” he said. “I think the testing we’ve done here earlier this week has paid off, and we’ve made some good progress. All of the engineers and mechanics have been working hard, and we’ve got a car that we can race with.

“In terms of the qualifying run, I managed to get out early and get some reasonably free track and managed to bang in a lap quite early on.  At the time it gave me P1 but then Gimmi got going and then Toni got going and they leapfrogged me.   I thought that my time might be good enough for the pole, but the Ferraris kind of suckered us and then landed a big right hook!

“I think after the last few races we’ve had, where things haven’t gone exactly to plan, we really haven’t been at the front.  We’ll take it here as a step forward; we’re making some advances and some gains and getting some momentum back.  We’re pretty buoyant in the team that we’re moving in the right direction and have a good chance of getting a good result. 

“I think this circuit does suit our cars, but I would say that everyone has improved compared to last year.  This is the most competitive GT class ever, and everyone is rising to the challenge. The development is continuous, whether it’s coming from Corvette or our rivals, and every team is trying their hardest to get that little edge.

“I’m very pleased with today; we made some good steps earlier on in the week when we tested here and it seems to have paid off.  We are still not there, and have little bit more to gain especially as the Ferraris seem to be very fast.

“Two hours and 45 minutes round here at Mid Ohio, like last time at Lime Rock, is going to include plenty of bumping and banging and incident and hopefully we come out on the right side of the officials this weekend and have the right sort of result.”

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