Qualifying: an encouraging start to Daytona week

The new C7R in action in practice at Daytona

Today’s qualifying for the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the opening and inaugural round of the Tudor United Sportscar Championship, proved to be a satisfying one for Oliver Gavin in the No.4 Corvette C7R.  Making its debut in international competition, the Briton placed the stunning new Corvette on the second row of the GTLM grid, his lap of 1:44.729 being just 0.223seconds away from pole position.

“It’s a very good start,” Olly said. “We’re right there and only a couple tenths off pole. We’re obviously right at the beginning of the development curve of this car so that’s pretty awesome and we know we have a lot more to come.

“Unfortunately this morning didn’t start fantastically as we had an electrical problem which caused us to miss nearly all the first session.  Tommy did a couple of laps but that was it.  We diagnosed that problem after the session and it was a bit of wiring issue.  It’s a new car thing, everyone’s learning still, and it’s something we’ve got to chalk up to experience, a lesson learnt.

“All the sessions have been red-flagged at times so we didn’t get all the track time we wanted in the afternoon session before qualifying, so it was all a bit of a voyage of discovery.  I was very fortunate as I had Pat Long who towed me round a large majority of my lap which was very kind of him!  I don’t know how much difference it made to my lap time but it was very helpful and I have to thank him for it…I’m sure it wasn’t by design.

“As a new car and Corvette Racing first time back, I’m pretty happy with where we are and I also feel happy we’ve got a good stable car we can race with. Where we qualify today ultimately has very little impact on how the race will go Saturday and Sunday, but it’s good to be there in the mix.”

There are two further practice sessions before Saturday’s race start, the first being a night practice during which all drivers must complete their mandatory night laps.  Tomorrow morning between 11:30 and 12:30 offers a final hour to the teams and drivers to ensure that all is well with their cars.

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