Brabham Consolidates Championship Position with Sensational Second at Mid-Ohio Australian David Brabham underlined his American Le Mans Series LMP2 title-winning potential with another class podium in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio...
Brabham Consolidates Championship Position with Sensational Second at Mid-Ohio
Australian David Brabham underlined his American Le Mans Series LMP2 title-winning potential with another class podium in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on Saturday 19 July. The Henley-on-Thames (UK) resident finished just a few tenths shy of class winner Romain Dumas after a sensational surge through from sixth overall and fourth in class to fourth overall and second in class in the thrilling final stages.
Mid-Ohio seals Brabham and team mate Scott Sharp's double second-place class finish after their first outright win of the season from pole at Lime Rock last weekend. The Patron Highcroft Racing duo's efforts secure second place in the LMP2 championship standings as the series moves into the second half of the season.
Brabham took control of the Acura ARX-01b at Mid-Ohio just past the 50-minute marker, to join the race under the safety car fifth overall and third in class after a solid start from Scott Sharp. Green flag racing resumed on lap 44 with one hour gone and Lucas Luhr in the lead. Emanuele Pirro took Simon Pagenaud for second on lap 45 while Romain Dumas and Brabham were in hot pursuit.
With mere tenths covering the second to seventh placed-cars, Dumas slipped past Pagenaud for third on lap 47 while Brabham was in the thick of the five-car battle for second for the next 10 laps, staying within tenths of Pagenaud throughout.
A full course yellow on lap 58 was cleared on lap 62 with one hour and 15 minutes left to run, only for the safety car to be called out again on lap 68. The leading pack took the opportunity to pit for fuel and tyres but a pit fire in Pagenaud's garage promoted Brabham to rejoin the fray fourth overall and second in class.
The field was bunched up by the time racing resumed on lap 80 and Brabham lurked just one tenth behind Pirro's rear wing with fifth-placed Adrian Fernandez two tenths adrift of the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura. Passed by Adrian Fernandez and Patrick Long, Brabham dropped to sixth and fourth in class in the closely knit field but soon recovered.
As the race entered the thrilling final 30 minutes, Brabham was tailing the four-car battle for second four tenths adrift of Long. The Penske Porsche took fourth on lap 85 leaving Fernandez as Brabham's target and he duly closed in, taking third in class and fifth overall on lap 89.
The native Australian pulled out all the stops with 25 minutes to go to slice into Long's three second advantage and set his, and the Acura's, fastest lap of the race on lap 91. The quickest man on the track with twenty minutes remaining, Brabham's relentless pace ensured he took fourth and second in class on lap 100.
With 10 minutes left, LMP2 class leader Dumas was over three seconds up the track but Brabham continued to set lap after flying lap to close at a rate of over half a second per lap. In the nail-biting closing stages, and with last week's Lime Rock victory fresh in mind, Brabham was within five tenths of the Penske Porsche when traffic intervened.
The 2008 GT1 Le Mans winner was within two tenths of attacking a second consecutive LMP2 class victory, with two laps remaining. Despite his monumental efforts in the dramatic closing stages, Brabham took the chequered flag second in class and fourth overall.
"We've scored vital championship points here today that keep us within reach of the championship lead," said Brabham. "We're really happy with second in class after our overall victory at Lime Rock last weekend. I got close to taking another class win; I certainly had the quicker car but it was a question of finding a lucky move and, although the car kept getting better and better, Romain [Duman] used the traffic well. We would have liked to have made it two wins in a row but we will be determined to make amends at Road America."