PATRÃ“N HIGHCROFT SCORE FRONT ROW START FOR LAGUNA SECA ENDURO MONTEREY, CA, Friday, 21 May 2010: PatrÃ³n Highcroft Racing's stunning qualifying performances continued today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with David Brabham putting the team's...
PATRÓN HIGHCROFT SCORE FRONT ROW START FOR LAGUNA SECA ENDURO
MONTEREY, CA, Friday, 21 May 2010: Patrón Highcroft Racing's stunning qualifying performances continued today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with David Brabham putting the team's HPD ARX-01c on the front row for tomorrow's six hour enduro.
The 2009 LMP1 reigning champions and current LMP joint championship leader started from the LMP2 class pole at Sebring and has now scored its second consecutive front row start for the new combined LMP1/LMP2 prototype class.
Brabham topped the timesheets in early qualifying, setting the first flying lap at 1 minute, 14.276 seconds. He then went progressively quicker to move down to 1:13.009.
While making further adjustments in the pits, Guy Smith's Lola Mazda lowered the pole mark down to 1:12.338 - pushing the Patrón Highcroft team to second.
Brabham returned to the track to attempt to steal back the pole, but his efforts were hindered by traffic and he had to settle for second overall.
The team has earlier finished second and third in the two practice sessions today, Simon Pagenaud taking the wheel for the morning session and Brabham driving in the afternoon.
Pagenaud will start tomorrow's event and is expected to complete a double stint before handing over to Brabham who, in turn, will pass the reigns to Marino Franchitti who will complete the race.
Tomorrow's Laguna Seca event will feature an earlier start with the 2010 round extended from four to six hours.
After clinching the 2009 LMP1 ALMS championship at the same venue last year, the Patrón Highcroft squad is confident of achieving further success tomorrow - targeting a strong finish to earn sole ownership of the 2010 points lead.
"We've been trying to get a good balance and good grip around here. The wind has been picking up quite a lot during the day and it is a very low grip surface.
"The guys gave me a fantastic car in qualifying. It felt the best it had been all weekend - when I finished my fastest lap, I thought to myself 'that's a good lap' and if anybody beats that they are doing really well.
"There is not a whole lot left in the car but if we get everything right in the race we should still be very strong.
"I am much happier with the car as we have a really good balance for the race. Tomorrow is all about executing everything right - you have to get everything perfect. The competition is tough and there is a lot of carnage out there as well and the team that gets through without any problems will be in very good shape.
"This Patrón Highcroft team is very good in making sure the strategy is right, the pit stops are right and the car runs perfectly all day."
"The Patrón Highcroft team has done a very good job in preparing the car and it is handling exceptionally well. The circuit is really slippery compared to the last two years and I think we have a decent race car for tomorrow.
"David did a great job in qualifying and it is brilliant to be on the front row tomorrow. It is very difficult to pass here so we will see what we can do off the start.
"It is a six hour race and it will be very important to be there at the end. The temperature is going to drop and it is important to make sure we are fast at the end - more so than at the beginning.
"I am very happy with how things are going and really looking forward to racing tomorrow."
"It is going to be very close tomorrow. Congratulations to the Dyson Mazda guys, they did a very good job today. Having driven that car last year, I knew how fast it was and it was a matter of time before it showed that pace in qualifying.
"Brabs did a great job today and certainly got everything he could out of the car in qualifying.
"We were a little unlucky in traffic in a few places but it is a long race tomorrow and it is not just about speed. Once the green flag drops it is not about who got the pole it is about who will do the best job over six hours and I know the Patrón Highcroft team are up for that and Simon, David and myself will do everything we can to win."