BRABHAM LEADS ACURA CHARGE ON FAST ROAD AMERICA LAYOUT TAKES THIRD IN FRIDAY'S AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES QUALIFYING Marino Franchitti, Luis Diaz Start 4th, 6th Saturday's in Four-Hour Event ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- David Brabham...
BRABHAM LEADS ACURA CHARGE ON FAST ROAD AMERICA LAYOUT
TAKES THIRD IN FRIDAY'S AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES QUALIFYING
Marino Franchitti, Luis Diaz Start 4th, 6th Saturday's in Four-Hour Event
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- David Brabham was nervous Friday morning following a tough testing session Thursday with his No. 9 Highcroft Acura ARX-01a sports car at the legendary four-mile Road America.
But the popular Australian driver felt much better Friday afternoon after he set the third-fastest time during qualifying in the LMP2 class for Saturday's Generac 500, the eighth race in the 2007 American Le Mans Series.
Brabham., driving with fellow veteran Stefan Johansson, posted a lap time of one minute, 49.767 seconds on the famed 14-turn track to place behind the two Penske Porsches of Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe. Brabham jumped to the top early in the 20-minute session Friday with a 1:49.973 reading before settling for third. The four-hour Generac 500 is set to start at 4 p.m. (CDT) Saturday.
Brabham and Johansson suffered through a rough testing program Thursday as their Acura car was nearly two and a half seconds off the Porsche pace. But the Highcroft team cured the understeer problem that plagued the team in testing and Brabham quickly lowered his lap times during Friday.
Trailing Brabham on the LMP2 grid was Marino Franchitti with a time of 1:50.100 in the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a for Andretti Green Racing. Franchitti was also quick in the early portions of qualifying and pitted before the checkered flag due to a slight off-course excursion. Franchitti, teaming with Sebring winner Bryan Herta Saturday, will start next to Brabham in the fourth position.
Luis Diaz took the No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola B06/40 to the sixth spot at 1:51.265. Diaz, a former winner in the Formula Atlantic series at Road America, will co-drive with Mexican star Adrian Fernandez.
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a): "We were pretty much out to lunch on Thursday. But today we made a lot of progress with the Highcroft Acura. I'm very pleased with the way it ended up today. The car really became better as the day went on for us. We have a bigger window for us to push with the suspension now and that was a key for the team. You can place the car where you want now. That is a big improvement. We haven't really tested here like some of the other teams. So, we are a little behind in that regard. I think Stefan [Johnasson] and I are ready for the race after today. The Highcroft crew has given us a good car for Saturday."
MARINO FRANCHITTI (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01a): "Overall, I think got all I could out of the car. The last three laps were the fastest and we trying very hard on the last one. I slid into the gravel trap. I would have liked to have finished that one. But that was about all she had right now. We're in the top four and hopefully, we can give the fight to the Porsches on Saturday. I think that Bryan [Herta], myself and the whole Andretti Green XM Satellite team have done a good job getting the car ready for today. We improved the car quite a bit from Thursday. I think we have a good car for the race. We'd like to get back up on the podium here."
LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola 06/40) "I was getting all I could from the car in qualifying. The engine is very good. We are having a little trouble with the downforce. We could use some more downforce on the Lola. But this is a long race and we have a good pair of drivers for the Lowe's Acura. We might not have the fastest car on the track on Saturday, but we have a strong team and good strategy. I really like driving at this track. I won the Atlantic race here in 2002 and I have always enjoyed racing here. So we are ready for the race."