Rainy Lime Rock makes qualifying a lottery

On a rainy day at Lime Rock Park, Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin qualified his C6.R sixth for Saturday’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix.  Wet conditions prevailed throughout the two hours of practice and the 20-minute qualifying session.

Qualifying began with light rain falling on the 1.5-mile circuit, and the rain intensified during the session, crucially after a red flag stoppage.  Olly’s third timed lap in the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R was his best at 1:05.011, but the heavier rain prevented him from making another bid for a higher grid placing.  Patrick Long claimed the GT pole in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche with a 1:03.904 lap.

A problem with a wheel nut in the second practice session cost the No. 4 Corvette precious track time, as Olly recounts:  “With the problem we had in practice, we didn’t get a chance to go out on fresh tyres to see what it was going to be like.  We made some changes, and unfortunately they didn’t go in the right direction, so we’ve ended up a little way back.

“I did three or four laps and realized that I needed to come in and have the crew make some adjustments but as soon as I went back out, the red flag flew.  By the time the track went green, it was raining harder and I knew we weren’t going to improve the time so I came in rather than risk bending the car.

“The problem with the wheel in practice was really disappointing as it also ruined a set of tyres which would have been perfect for qualifying and we didn’t have another similar set.  The conditions were such that you had to make exactly the right choice at the right time and we just missed out on the chance to improve.

“It’s bad luck for us again, which is very frustrating, but we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.  The range of weather forecasts for tomorrow is quite wide, from continued rain to hot and humid conditions.   Olivier will be starting the race so we’ll have to see what we can do from here.”

Olly’s next race will be round 5 of the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock in Connecticut on Saturday, 24th July.  Live audio coverage and timing/scoring will be available via www.americanlemans.com

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