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Corvette Racing Victorious at the 12 Hours of Sebring: Team of Fellows, O’Connell and Freon Demonstrate Speed, Reliability and Consistency in GTS-Class Win
SEBRING, FLA. - Corvette Racing's Chevrolet Corvette C5-R powered the team of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Franck Freon to victory in the GTS class of the opening round of the American Le Mans Series at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. After spending the majority of the race trailing the #4 C5-R, driven by Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim, Ron Fellows took the lead after 283 laps, when Oliver Gavin retired due to complications with his transmission. Despite a few battles for position in the GTS class during the first hour, the Corvettes led every lap of the race thereafter.
"There's nothing like driving a Chevrolet at Sebring!" said Johnny O'Connell. "Everyone here on the #3 car really did a great job today. I tip my hat to Ron and Franck - we've enjoyed great success together and this is a great win."
Doug Fehan, GM's Program manager for Corvette Racing, was happy to see the year start off just as last year finished.
"We're very proud of our Corvette Racing program today, and it's fitting that our defending champion #3 C5-R starts off the 2003 season with a win," said Fehan. "With our #4 car running strong we thought they'd bring home the win, but Sebring is as tough as any place in the world for racing. You just absolutely have to run 12 hard hours of racing, and that's what Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Franck Freon did today."
The drivers from the #4 Corvette, which led the race the majority of the race until mechanical complications forced them to retire, were philosophical after capturing third place in the GTS class.
"It's frustrating because we had the lead for 10 and a quarter hours," said Oliver Gavin, driver for the #4 C5-R. "Apart from this race and Le Mans, that would have been good enough for the win at any other ALMS race."
"It's never over 'til it's over in racing," said Andy Pilgrim, #4 C5-R driver. "And Sebring is the ultimate 'it's never over 'til it's over' race."
The Corvette Racing team will hit the track again in June, for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
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