HERTA LEADS ACURA CONTINGENT IN MOSPORT QUALIFYING
STRANGE WEATHER CONDITIONS GIVE ALMS TEAMS A CURVE
Acura Prototypes To Start 3rd, 4th, 5th In Only Canadian ALMS Race
Bryan Herta came out strong in his No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a during Saturday's American Le Mans Series qualifying at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto.
Early in the 20-minute time trail session, the winner of the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring posted the quickest time on the fast 2.45-mile, 10-turn circuit as teams prepare for Sunday's only Canadian stop on the 12-race ALMS tour. The two-hour, 45-minute event starts at 3 p.m. (EDT) Sunday and will be telecast live on SPEED-TV.
Herta drove his Acura prototype to a clocking of one minute, 6.249 seconds in just the second lap of qualifying and held the top stop for nearly ten minutes. Herta's Andretti Green Racing crew made minor adjustments in the pits and sent Bryan out in an attempt to improve his early time. However, the Californian had to settle for third in the LMP2 grid when the checkered flag flew on Saturday afternoon. Marino Franchitti will team with Herta Sunday.
The Penske Porsches of Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe took the top positions in the LMP2 class.
David Brabham recorded the fourth fastest time with a clocking of 1:06.428 in the No. 9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a. Brabham, a three-time podium finisher this year with teammate Stefan Johansson, wasn't pleased with his run Saturday but expects the No. 9 Acura to be in good shape for Sunday's feature event.
Luis Diaz took the No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola B06/40 to the fifth starting slot in the LMP2 division with a time of 1:06.842 in qualifications. Diaz, teaming with Adrian Fernandez, looks for a third podium finish.
BRYAN HERTA(#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01a): "We wanted to get out early and threw in a good lap. I think we did that today. There was some traffic that hurt us later in the session. The testing we did earlier in the week helped us today. The conditions have been changing so much here with rain, first it's hot and humid and then it's cloudy and cool. So the handling of the car is really subject to the track conditions. We really have had a lot of in-season testing this year to develop the new Acura ARX-01a chassis. We worked on it a lot before the season. But I like the direction the team is going with the car this weekend. I believe we have a good, solid car for the race. I think the XM Acura will be competitive on Sunday."
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a): "I am disappointed with that qualifying run. I really had to slow the car down too much in the middle of the corners right at the apex. I couldn't get the car in the corners like I wanted. Sixth (overall) on the grid isn't bad but we thought we had a little more than that for qualifying. The car was very consistent and we hope that will translate into the race. It's hard to say how the car will work in the race because the track is changing so much. There have been some pretty crazy conditions with the rain, heat and humidity with each session. Friday was so much different than Tuesday when we tested. The grip level changes with the weather and the different rubber from the other series. Traffic will be a factor in the race. I was in a GT-2 car last year here and I was watching my mirrors the whole time. I know how those guys feel with the faster prototypes. Now I'm in a faster car and I have to watch the traffic closely."
LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola 06/40) "The track really changed a lot from the test earlier in the week. Then we lost some time Friday with the incident in practice with Adrian [Fernandez]. We are chasing a little bit of understeer but overall the Lowe's Acura is coming around. The team did a great job putting the car together for today's runs. The car is very competitive now and we just need a couple of little adjustments for the race. Our Lowe's team has shown that we are more competitive in the races this year than in qualifying. So I am confident that we will have a good car for the race on Sunday. We feel the conditions on Sunday will be better for our car. So Adrian and I are really ready to get the race started."