On his fifth and final lap of qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Mosport, Johnny O’Connell sped around the 2.459 mile Mosport International Raceway in 1:13.878 (119.825 mph) to capture his second pole of the 2008 ALMS season. O’Connell’s lap time was .069 seconds faster than Olivier Beretta, who set the pace on his fourth lap at 1:13.947 (119.713 mph), but ran into traffic on his final lap and could not improve his time.
The real news of day occurred earlier in the day when Oliver Gavin went off-course on Mosportâ€™s high-speed Turn 2 in the Number 4 Corvette C6.R, crashing head-on with a tire barrier. Gavin emerged unscathed and the crew had the car repaired and back on the track for the afternoon practice and qualifying.
“I’m fine, but feeling very disappointed,” said Gavin, who was examined and cleared to drive by medical personnel at the track. “I had the accident at Elkhart Lake, and then to get back in the car at Mosport and have another incident is a big disappointment for the guys. It seems that this year is just going from one thing to another.”
“We had the pole for two or three laps, and then Olivier nailed one and put a quicker time up there,” O’Connell recalled. “I heard the excitement in (crew chief) Dan Binks’ voice, ‘You’re minus three, minus three!’ Then on my last lap I got a good run through Turns 1 and 2, but at the exit of Turn 2 a Viper had spun. Binks said, ‘He’s out of the way!’ so I stayed with it and ran really hard into Turn 3. I could tell I was pulling some time on Olivier, and knew I had to carry some serious speed into Turn 8. I took some chances there, and it paid off.”
The Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario is scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. EST on Sunday, August 24. SPEED will televise the race live at 3 p.m. EDT.
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving