Corvettes to Start Second and Third on Streets of Long Beach
Grid Set by Championship Points as Rain Washes Out Qualifying for Second Round of ALMS
April 13, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The streets of Long Beach were awash today as qualifying for Saturday's two-hour American Le Mans Series at Long Beach was canceled due to rain and standing water on the temporary circuit. With the starting grid consequently determined by championship points, the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R driven by Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia will start second in the GT category, and the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner will start third.
Today's early-morning practice session was shortened by red flags and intermittent downpours, limiting the Corvettes to less than two-dozen laps in two hours. Eight hours later, qualifying began under sunny skies, but the rain returned shortly after the start of the 15-minute session for the GT entries. Race officials red-flagged the session and subsequently abandoned qualifying. In accordance with IMSA regulations, the grid was then set on championship points.
Gavin turned a time at 1:32.641 in two flying laps, the fourth quickest time in the rain-shortened session. "It was looking good on the first couple of laps," he said. "Our tires were taking a little time to come in with the cold track, but we had a good car and I was catching the cars ahead of me quickly. Then it really started raining as I came down the front straight. At that point I could see the mist on the circuit, cars were struggling to stop and were going down the escape roads. I knew the session would be red-flagged and thought we'd have to start wherever we were, P4 at the time. Subsequently the officials abandoned the session and we'll start on points instead.
"It's a shame we didn't get a full run in the dry here, but I feel that the car is going to be good," Gavin continued. "I feel optimistic about the race tomorrow. I know the Corvette Racing crew is doing an excellent job setting up the car, and I'll take our Corvette over any other car in the field straight off the truck."
Magnussen was fifth quickest in two timed laps with a 1:32.872, but the No. 3 Corvette C6.R will start second based on its runner-up finish in the season-opening Sebring 12-hour race. The forecast for the race is dry.
"Today's qualifying just adds to the uncertainty for tomorrow's race," Magnussen said. "Qualifying is not a good guide because the track was damp, it was sprinkling from the start. So we've really had one timed lap, on slicks, when it was wet. We'll go into the race like we haven't been here at all."
Magnussen posted back-to-back runner-up finishes in Long Beach in the last two years, and the Dane is optimistic that he can improve in tomorrow's race.
"Usually we have a good setup and the Corvettes are strong here," he said. "Hopefully we can get through the beginning of the race, settle into a good pace, and be at the front at the end so we can fight for a win."
ESPN2 will broadcast the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach live at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 14. The 2-hour race will be carried simultaneously on ESPN3.com.
American Le Mans Series at Long Beach GT Qualifying (Top 10)
Grid set by championship points after qualifying canceled due to rain
1. 56 Mueller/Hand, BMW E92 M3
2. 3 Magnussen/Garcia, Corvette C6.R
3. 4 Gavin/Milner, Corvette C6.R
4. 55 Mueller/Auberlen, BMW E92 M3
5. 48 Miller/Maassen, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
6. 44 Neiman/Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
7. 02 Brown/Cosmo, Ferrari F458 Italia
8. 17 Henzler/Sellers, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
9. 01 Sharp/van Overbeek, Ferrari 458 Italia
10. 45 Bergmeister/Long, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Source: Corvette Racing