Yardley Hastings’ finest racing driver (in the words of Radio Le Mans’ John Hindhaugh) proved himself in every sense today when he claimed pole position in the super-competitive GT class for tomorrow’s seventh round of the American Le Mans Series at Road America in Wisconsin.
Following hot on the heels of his great race to a second place finish at Mid Ohio two weeks ago, the British driver and his Corvette Racing team continued the good work at the popular, European-style track. What’s more, Olly led a Corvette Racing one-two in class, heading Pierre Kaffer’s Ferrari in third place and Jorg Bergmeister’s Porsche in fourth.
“It’s fantastic for the Corvettes to be one-two,” said Olly after capturing his 19th career ALMS pole. “This is not a victory, but it’s a really good step in the right direction. It’s so close in the GT class that you have to push to the max all the time. I did that, and got a good result.
“It was one of those qualifying sessions where you’re hoping it’s all going to go your way with traffic and with your decisions on the setup. The Corvette engineering team made a really great call just before the start of the session. The car feels much like it did in Le Mans, so I feel very confident for the race. Road America is the closest track to Le Mans that we visit in North America and we were very competitive there so I hope we’ll be able to carry on some of that here.
“It was a bit of a disjointed session with the red flag stoppage in the middle of it, but it helped me as I managed to get my tyres up to temperature at just the right time and bang my lap in before the red flag came out. When it went green again, everyone had just a little bit of time, no more than two laps, to try and improve on the times at the end there and Jan got close but the time held good.
“It’s no secret that Salt Lake and Lime Rock weren’t exactly fantastic events for us, but from Mid Ohio onwards we’re going back to circuits that we’ve raced at before with our GT car so we’ve got data and know where we’re going with the car and where we need to be. That puts us in a stronger position. This GT class is phenomenally competitive and you’re never really sure where you’re going to stack up against the competition until you go out for that first session. We seem to have been at the sharp end for most of this weekend though so far so feel we’ve got a car we can race anyone with.”