Brabham Secures Front Row Start For ALMS Championship Showdown
Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, UK -- Saturday 10 October, 2009; David Brabham will start his mission to take the 2009 American Le Mans Series title from the front row at Laguna Seca, California, after a thrilling qualifying battle saw the Patron Highcroft star stop the clocks less than one hundredth of a second short of pole position.
The 44 year-old ALMS master was the first to show his hand in the 20-minute session by breaking the 1minute 11second benchmark to take the Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-02a to the top of the timesheets. Acuras continued to dominate the session with just over two tenths covering Gil de Ferran and Luis Diaz in the LMP2 Acura before Brabham pit with the third fastest time of 1:11.462.
The Le Mans 24 Hours 2009 winner rejoined the battle for pole with four minutes remaining to set his best time of 1:11.298 to take second place. Pole position went to Brabham's long-time friend and closest championship rival Gil de Ferran by just 0.092 seconds in what was his final career qualifying session.
With a 21-point lead over de Ferran in the LMP1 championship battle, Brabham and the Patron Highcroft crew are sitting strong to take the title which can be achieved by completing 70% of the four-hour race distance at Laguna Seca.
Brabham commented: "It was yet another close qualifying session and battle between us and the de Ferran car, but it was nice for Gil to take his last pole position.
"I'm pretty pleased with second as I only got three laps in practice this morning because half of the Patron Highcroft crew are suffering with flu and we decided to give the guys a rest. We went out in the second session and had a bit of a steering issue, so we made a small tyre pressure adjustment to get some more grip and it was a case of suck it and see for qualifying.
"We'll make a few more adjustments to the set-up but overall we are in good shape and certainly competitive. A front row start is exactly what we wanted and I'm looking forward to the race. We know what we need to do and we're just going to go out there and do it."
The final round of the ALMS 2009 -- the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patron at Laguna Seca -- takes place at 2.45pm local time on Saturday.
Full live race audio is available online at www.radiolemans.com while live timing can be accessed via www.americanlemans.com