Long Beach: Highcroft Racing qualifying report

PATRON HIGHCROFT SCORES POLE POSITION FOR TEQUILA PATRON LONG BEACH EVENT LONG BEACH, CA, Friday, April 17, 2009: Patron HIghcroft Racing scored its first pole position of the year on the streets of Long Beach today when David Brabham drove the...

PATRON HIGHCROFT SCORES POLE POSITION FOR TEQUILA PATRON LONG BEACH EVENT

LONG BEACH, CA, Friday, April 17, 2009: Patron HIghcroft Racing scored its first pole position of the year on the streets of Long Beach today when David Brabham drove the Acura ARX-02a to set the fastest time in qualifying for the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series event.

The pole position is the first for Patron Highcroft Racing for 2009, its first in the LMP1 class and Brabham's 11th American Le Mans Series pole.

The UK-based Australian stopped the clocks at 1 minute, 11.627 seconds - a lap record for the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. After changes to the technical regulations for 2009 which slowed the cars, Patron Highcroft's pole today is the first for the year which outstripped the 2008 record.

Brabham will share the car with American Scott Sharp in tomorrow's 100 minute race. The duo last year won the P2 class at the corresponding event and also scored the victory in the previous round of the championship at St Petersburg.

Brabham set an initial fast lap of 1:13.239 which was then beaten by the #66 Acura of Gil de Ferran. The Patron Highcroft team responded with the 1:11.627 lap and then returned to the pits to wait to see if the time was going to be challenged.

The sister Acura of de Ferran was initially unable to respond but then recorded a 1:11.765 as Brabham returned to the track. Brabham was on another hot lap but aborted the attempt to go faster after de Ferran spun in turn one while trying to steal the pole.

The 100-minute Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series event - round three of the 2009 championship - will greet the green flag at 4:15pm tomorrow.

DAVID BRABHAM
"Gil was getting closer and closer to my time and really hanging it out. It was good to watch on TV. He got really close but I am delighted for the team and Patron who are sponsoring the race this weekend that we were able to grab the pole.

"It is our first pole for the year so that is a great start to the weekend.

"On the final lap when Gil spun I was actually on a faster lap that would have been pretty close but the team told me to back off on the radio to save the tires for the race tomorrow.

"Today's result shows the competitiveness between the two teams but it is great for an all-Acura front row in their home town.

"The track was in pretty good shape, the Michelin tires were working extremely well and I felt like I had laid down a good time. "We sat and waited to see if anybody was going to get close at the end and made sure we were on track in case that happened.

"The Acura is handling extremely well and seems really well suited to the track. I got pretty close last year to getting pole but made a mistake when I was 3/10ths of a second up. It's great to come back and get the job done this year."

SCOTT SHARP
"We had a good car this morning and the team made some changes which have certainly gone in the right direction with the Acura LMP1 car.

"The Michelin tires were working well and David did a heck of a lap out there in qualifying so we are in good shape for tomorrow.

"It's very appropriate with Patron sponsoring the race this weekend that we have the Patron car on pole. Now we just have to bring it home in the race - that will be golden!

"I'll start the race tomorrow. It is the best place to start obviously but you have to be careful with cold tire issues.

"We just need to make sure we get a good start and roll from there."

-credit: hr

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran