Long Beach: Simon Pagenaud race report

THE FIRST WIN OF 2010 After losing out to the Aston Martin of Fernandez/Prémat by a whisker in the fight for pole position, Simon Pagenaud profited from the following day's race through the streets of Long Beach to take sweet revenge. The ...

THE FIRST WIN OF 2010

After losing out to the Aston Martin of Fernandez/Prémat by a whisker in the fight for pole position, Simon Pagenaud profited from the following day's race through the streets of Long Beach to take sweet revenge.

The Californian fixture was the year's first event to amalgamate the LMP1 and LMP2 cars into a single class and, while the Honda Performance Development tuned ARX-01c LMP2 was particularly fast through the turns, it tended to hand a straight-line speed advantage to the LMP1s. At one point when he was leading the race, Simon was slowed by traffic which enabled his Mexican rival to bridge the gap and pass him down the straight with only six minutes remaining.

The Frenchman then piled on the pressure, however, and succeeded in forcing Fernandez into a mistake. He pounced on it immediately and retrieved the lead before going on to beat his opponent across the line by a mere three tenths of a second! Simon's first win with Highcroft Racing (and his second in a row at Long Beach) takes him and his teammate David Brabham to the top of the provisional ALMS standings.

SIMON PAGENAUD

"What a race! And what a scrap! The outcome was decided through the very last turns. I'm absolutely delighted, because Long Beach's magnificent street circuit has been such a good venue to me. It's also here that I made my debut in the USA in 2006. This weekend's race was very close and the LMP1/LMP2 equivalence didn't really work out in our favour. In fact, it was one of the toughest races I have ever contested.

My team-mate David Brabham got us off to an excellent start, and the lightning pit-stop performed by everyone at Patron Highcroft Racing enabled me to rejoin in front. Our partners GE and Patron were both there to watch the race and it's great to have treated them to such an exciting show. Because of the power of the Aston Martin down the straights, I didn't think it would be possible to regain the lead after I was passed three laps from home. But I took time to watch how Fernandez was driving and I saw he was having problems with grip. It was then that I decided to make the most of the perfect road holding of my Michelin tyres to maintain the pressure and prepare an overtaking attempt on the final lap.

Following my win here last year with De Ferran Motorsports, I am thrilled to have kicked off 2010 with a second consecutive success at Long Beach in only my second outing with Patron Highcroft Racing".

-source: www.simon-pagenaud.com

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Simon Pagenaud