HERTA TAKES XM ACURA TO THIRD IN BELLE ISLE ALMS QUALIFYING Brabham, Fernandez Take 5th and 6th With Acura-powered Prototypes Friday DETROIT -- Bryan Herta left nothing on the track Friday afternoon during qualifying for ...
HERTA TAKES XM ACURA TO THIRD IN BELLE ISLE ALMS QUALIFYING
Brabham, Fernandez Take 5th and 6th With Acura-powered Prototypes Friday
DETROIT -- Bryan Herta left nothing on the track Friday afternoon during qualifying for Saturday's American Le Mans Series Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on the tight, 2.096-mile, 14-turn circuit in the streets of Detroit.
Herta, a Detroit native, slid his No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a within inches of the concrete walls in an effort to win Acura's third pole of the 12-race 2007 American Le Mans Series.
The winner of this year's 12 Hours of Sebring had recorded the quickest time of the 20-minute qualifying session at the halfway point Friday, but had to settle for third on Saturday's starting grid when the checkered flag was dropped. The Penske Porsches of Ryan Briscoe and Timo Bernhard continued their success in ALMS by taking the top two qualifying positions. The Porsches clocked in at 1 minute, 13.359 seconds for Briscoe and 1:13.603 for Bernhard.
Herta ripped off a 1:13.825 early in the session before Briscoe's pole run. Bryan returned to the track with four minutes remaining and bettered his earlier time with a 1:13.768 on his qualifying lap. Herta, who will team with Marino Franchitti in Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute race, finished third in last Sunday's most recent American Le Mans Series event at Bowmanville, Ont., Canada.
David Brabham notched the fifth-fastest clocking with a time of 1:14.010 in the No. 9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a. Brabham, who'll drive with Belle Isle racing veteran Stefan Johansson, makes his first Belle Isle start Saturday, but ranks second in all-time ALMS starts with 70 entering Saturday's feature.
Another Belle Isle veteran, Adrian Fernandez, starter of eight CART races in Detroit, drove the No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola B06/40 to the sixth starting position with a time of 1:14.450. Luis Diaz will co-drive with Fernandez as they seek their third podium finish of the year.
BRYAN HERTA (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01a): "I was letting it all out on the last two laps. I went down the escape road on the first lap and the last one was my best lap of qualifying. The XM Acura is working well right now. Obviously we are still chasing the yellow cars [Penske Porsches] but we seem to be making gains and getting close to them. I felt like I got everything out of the car and I am happy with that. I think we have a good car for the race but, of course, traffic is going to be really tough for us. There are some places that the GT cars will be tough to pass. You have to time your passes just right. There is no place for the GT cars to go. You must be patient and smart for Saturday's race."
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a): "I think we got just about everything out of the Highcroft Acura. The grip level wasn't the best in the front end. We seemed to have more push in the car. We want the car to be a little loose on a street circuit. We know we can improve the car for the race and we aren't too far from the Penskes. We have a consistent car and, with a little improvement in the front end, I think we'll be very competitive. Surprisingly, the track didn't change too much. We thought that more rubber on the surface would make for better grip. But the track really never changed throughout the day. That could be interesting for Saturday's race."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola 06/40) "We expected our car to be a little more balanced for qualifying. Luis ran good lap times with old tires in practice and helped us get a good setup for the race. For street races you just can't hit anything. That is hard. This is a very tough track for four different classes at the same time. There are a lot of blind corners and the speed differences are quite significant. I think it is going to be an attrition race. We have to get to the end on Saturday. The Penske group did a great job with all the arrangements for this race."