PAGENAUD BATTLES MID-OHIO STRAIGHT LINE SPEED DEMONS Mid-Ohio DANBURY, CT, Friday, August 6, 2010: PatrÃ³n Highcroft Racing's Simon Pagenaud pulled out one of his strongest qualifying laps of the year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course today -...
PAGENAUD BATTLES MID-OHIO STRAIGHT LINE SPEED DEMONS
Mid-Ohio DANBURY, CT, Friday, August 6, 2010: Patrón Highcroft Racing's Simon Pagenaud pulled out one of his strongest qualifying laps of the year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course today - however, the time was only good enough for third on the grid for tomorrow's sixth round of the championship.
Pagenaud stopped the clocks at 1 minute, 11. 360 seconds aboard the Honda Performance Development factory-backed ARX-01c - the car's fastest lap of the event to date.
The Frenchman was only .394 of a second off the LMP2 Mazda Lola of Chris Dyson in second place but the LMP1 Lola of Drayson Racing dominated the session - setting the pace with a lap of 1:10.034.
For 2010, the LMP1 and LMP2 classes have been combined in the American Le Mans Series. While the team's HPD ARX-01c LMP2 leads the championship with three race wins, this has come despite the car not being given any performance enhancements by IMSA to match the more powerful LMP1 machines.
Mid-Ohio Unfortunately for this weekend's race, Pagenaud and teammate David Brabham's chief championship rival, the Porsche RS Spyder of Klaus Graf and Greg Pickett will be missing in action after a crash in testing yesterday.
Graf was only seven points behind in the championship battle prior to this weekend.
Brabham spent today's first practice session behind the wheel - the Australian working on race setup before handing over to Pagenaud for the afternoon.
Pagenaud was second fastest in the afternoon session - his stint coming to an end early with a handful of minutes remaining after a trip through the gravel at turn four.
After scoring the LMP2 class pole at Sebring, the Patrón Highcroft squad have qualified second (Long Beach), second (Laguna Seca), pole (Salt Lake City) and pole again at Lime Rock Park.
Today is the first time this season the team has not been on the front row of the grid.
Simon Pagenaud SIMON PAGENAUD
"We set the car up really well in practice and I am really pleased with the car. I did a really great lap in qualifying - probably one of the best laps I have ever done around here.
"So it feels strange to be a second off the pole car. There is obviously still some work to be done on balancing the LMP1 and LMP2 cars into a single class.
"The team has done an outstanding job but we seem to be being penalized for that.
"We should have a very good car in the race tomorrow but the cars ahead of us are very fast in a straight line.
"I had a bit of an off in practice before qualifying which gave the guys a bit of cleanup to do unfortunately.
"I thought I had some more time to make under brakes at the end of the straight, but that wasn't to be. It was a good time to try it and it didn't hurt us in qualifying."
David Brabham DAVID BRABHAM
"This is the first time we have been off the front row but we knew this weekend was going to be a challenge.
"Simon got every little last drop out of the car in qualifying - that was really a great lap.
"Obviously the Porsche is not here but that car would have been very fast out here as well. I feel really sorry for those guys because we have had some great battles with them this year.
"I suppose it doesn't really matter where we qualify because by the time we get to the first corner all those cars have gone by due to the power disadvantage that we have.
"The weight disadvantage doesn't help as well. "We just have to make sure we outrace them as best we can."
-source: highcoft racing