Detroit: Highcroft Racing qualifying report

Overall Pole Position for Patron Highcroft Racing at Detroit Patron Highcroft Racing took its second overall American Le Mans Series pole position of the season at round nine, the Detroit Sportscar Challenge presented by Bosch at Belle Isle,...

Overall Pole Position for Patron Highcroft Racing at Detroit

Patron Highcroft Racing took its second overall American Le Mans Series pole position of the season at round nine, the Detroit Sportscar Challenge presented by Bosch at Belle Isle, on the day that Acura announced it will enter the LMP1 class in 2009. As one of two chosen teams, Patron Highcroft Racing will compete in LMP1 with its current driver line-up of Scott Sharp and David Brabham, who secured the team's Detroit pole position with a time of 1:13.483.

Fresh from the team's fourth win of the season and second consecutive victory (at Mosport last weekend), the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura is looking strong as it hunts for win number five and three in a row at the challenging Belle Isle street circuit. With the Sharp-Brabham pairing only 10 points behind Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in the LMP2 title fight, another win at Detroit would tip the scales in Patron Highcroft's favor.

"This has been a great day for Patron Highcroft Racing. To clinch pole position on the day that we announced our LMP1 program with Acura is fantastic," said Duncan Dayton, Patron Highcroft Racing team principal. "The announcement was followed by wet practice sessions here today and we really didn't have the chance to see what kind of car we had for qualifying. As usual, the team delivered and David had a fantastic session to put us on the front row of the grid for the start of tomorrow's race."

Even during the wet practice, Sharp showed the Acura's potential and set the third fastest time in the second session. Sharp commented: "The team did an amazing job especially since it rained during both earlier sessions. Qualifying was the first chance for all the teams to see what cars we had, basically straight off of the trucks. David got some great laps in and the team engineers delivered a fantastic set-up to put us in a great spot for tomorrow. Traffic will play a big role in the race, as this is a one-groove track in several places, so starting up front is key."

"This tops it off today with the P1 announcement," Brabham said. "For me personally, it's the first time in a long time that I've had a package like this with the sort of people we are working with. That inspires you to dig deeper and go around quicker. Scott is doing a fantastic job every time he gets in the car. The whole chemistry is working well together."

As the qualifying session reached the halfway mark, Brabham went to the top of the timesheets with a time of 1:13.575 by 0.085 seconds. But a blistering final flying lap solidified Patron Highcroft Racing's place at the front of the grid.

"What a phenomenal piece of team work," said Brabham. "The conditions were pretty tricky out there, the track was really damp in places and you had to be careful under breaking. But the Patron Highcroft Acura was hooked up on the Michelin tires and I was able to put in a couple of flying laps. I'm delighted with pole. Now we can just focus on tomorrow's race."

-credit: hr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Duncan Dayton , David Brabham , Scott Sharp , Timo Bernhard