Briton Oliver Gavin gave Corvette Racing the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class pole, its first pole at the Daytona International Speedway since 2000. With his lap of 1:43.488 in the #4 Corvette C7.R, Gavin became the 12th different pole winner in 12 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races, dating back to last year’s Rolex 24 – the inaugural TUDOR Championship event.
“It’s a very competitive class, I think they all are,” said Gavin, after taking his first TUDOR Championship pole. “That’s the depth of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship; there are plenty of great drivers and great teams out there.
“I have to thank Jan [Magnussen – team mate]; he towed me around a lot on that lap and helped me get this pole position, so I have to thank him for that. I tried to repay him by towing him around for a few laps. I just had a little bit of extra straight-line speed.”
Gavin used the draft to shoot to the top of the leaderboard early in the 15-minute session, besting the #51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni by 0.342 seconds. After leading early in the session, Bruni turned his fastest lap of 1:43.830 shortly after Gavin’s flyer, narrowly edging Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin Racing Gulf V8 Vantage who set a respectable 1:43.960.
John Edwards qualified fourth in the #24 BMW Team RLL IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTE putting in a 1:43.966, making it four different manufacturers in the first two rows.
In the GTD class, James Davison took advantage of a mid-session red flag to steal his fifth consecutive TOTAL Pole Award. After the wheel fell off of Kuno Wittmer’s #93 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R seven minutes into the 15-minute session, teams had only three minutes to run one final lap before the end of qualifying.
While several teams opted not to go out for the final minutes, Davison did and promptly put the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage on the pole with a lap of 01:47.272.
“I’m blown away we ended up on pole, to be honest,” said Davison, the leader in TUDOR Championship poles. “We waited in the pits and it went red, so I only had a lap to pull it off. Obviously the car was good and I hit my marks, but we were a bit lucky to pull it off.”
Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen, who had the top spot prior to the red flag, qualified second with a lap of 1:47.424 while Christopher Zoechling qualified third at 1:47.451 ) in Konrad Motorsports’ #28 Porsche 911 GT America.
Photo credit: www.olivergavin.com