Puncture Costs Gavin Podium at Long Beach

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At the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach last weekend, the third race of this year’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship, the #4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner missed out on a podium finish due to a tyre puncture, which left the car to finish in 7th position.

Gavin’s misfortunes for the weekend started in the final free practice session. The car required front-end repairs following a collision with a Daytona Prototype car. This made the team lose vital track time on this tight street circuit in California, disadvantaging them for qualifying.

“It looked like we were getting a good run on new tyres, and coming out of Turn 6 into Turn 8, I’m behind a DP car that pretty much parked on the apex and I ran into the back of him,” says British driver Oliver Gavin. “We did some damage to our car. We were able to go back out at the end, but the car wasn’t quite right.”

During the GT Le Mans qualifying session, both Corvettes performed well, with the #3 C7.R piloted by 2014 winner Jan Magnussen starting 4th in class, and Gavin just 0.020 seconds slower in 5th.

After a collision with the #912 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Jorg Bergmeister at the start of the race, Gavin continued but soon had a left-front puncture which forced the team to pit, with hopes of a podium finish vanishing. This made the team of Gavin and Milner finish the race 7th in the GTLM class.

“The run down to Turn 1 was pretty disjointed because everybody tried to get a good run out of the last corner at the start” says a disappointed Gavin. “I was right behind Jan (Magnussen) with the Porsche to my right and the gap closed, resulting in an unfortunate collision on the right-rear that span me around, only for a second touch on my right-front to correct the spin.

“I thought the car felt okay thereafter and I had a comfortable rhythm when a left-front puncture came out of nowhere. I believed we were strong and a podium contender, even after the first-lap contact, but the puncture and we were relying on carrying out our driver-change during a full-course caution to bring us back into play. Sadly, we never had that opportunity and seventh was the most we could muster.

“We just keep bouncing from one completely random incident to the next and these things are completely out of our control, which is hugely frustrating. The longer it persists, the more difficult it becomes to take crumbs of comfort from the fact you were capable of achieving a decent result. You have to remain positive, keep moving forwards and learn from these experiences, so we head to Laguna Seca with the belief that our fortunes will turn around.”

The next race in the 2015 Tudor USCC for Oliver Gavin will be the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on May 3.

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Jake covers sportscars for The Checkered Flag, mainly Tudor United SportsCar Championship and World Endurance Championship, along with a variety of other series including World Rally Championship.
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