Intermittent rain and rapidly changing track conditions added to the complexity of qualifying at Lime Rock Park for tomorrow’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, the third round of the ALMS. Olly qualified the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R fourth in the GT class with a time of 51.897 seconds on the roller coaster 1.47-mile circuit – reconfigured for 2011 with the omission of a chicane. Tommy Milner was a heartbeat behind in fifth at 51.954 seconds in the sister Corvette. Joey Hand put the No. 56 BMW M3 GT on the pole with a fast lap at 50.925.
Rain before the start of the second one-hour practice session saw the field on grooved tyres. As a dry line developed, the Corvettes switched to slicks and finished the session on top in the GT class. When the GT qualifying session began 25 minutes later, the Corvette crew continued to make adjustments.
“We made quite a lot of changes before the start of qualifying to extend our test session and to learn as much as we could during the limited track time,” said Olly, who turned his quickest time on his fifth lap. “We made good progress, and I think we understand the GT car much better this year at Lime Rock.
“It was a shame that we couldn’t find a couple of more tenths to get in front of the Porsche that’s third on the grid,” he continued. “I made a mess of the last corner, touched the curb on the inside, and that probably would have made a few tenths difference which would have got us in front of the Porsche. It’s pretty close for everyone except the BMWs; if someone’s three or four tenths in front that’s a lot, but for it to be a second is pretty extraordinary. I don’t know what’s going to happen but we don’t have much control over that, it’s just frustrating for all of us in the series and the fans. Two hours 45 minutes round here is a very, very long time and a lot can happen.”
With thanks to Corvette Racing for information.