Brabham Pulls Off Podium Perfect Run At Road America London, UK -- Sunday, August 22, 2010; David Brabham's sterling efforts at Road America delivered yet another podium finish for Patron Highcroft Racing, cementing his 20-point American Le Mans...
Brabham Pulls Off Podium Perfect Run At Road America
London, UK -- Sunday, August 22, 2010; David Brabham's sterling efforts at Road America delivered yet another podium finish for Patron Highcroft Racing, cementing his 20-point American Le Mans Series lead with just two rounds of the 2010 season remaining.
Once again Brabham, teamed with Simon Pagenaud, delivered perfect driving combined with clever team strategy to turn fifth on the grid to third overall.
The outstanding performance ensured the Highcroft duo protected their podium perfect performances this season, the Road America result joining a faultless record of three wins and three second places so far.
Pagenaud kicked off the round seven assault, charging up to second on the opening lap. He continued a strong session littered with safety car periods, temporarily dropping to third at the second restart before inheriting the lead after an hour from the Autocon car.
The Frenchman was stretching his advantage when the third caution came, causing the pits to close before the Highcroft HPD car could make its scheduled stop.
Finally able to pit with 1 hour 25 minutes to go, Brabham was delayed leaving the box when his seatbelt popped undone, allowing Klaus Graf's Porsche Spyder to jump position. Brabham joined in third and stayed under yellows for the majority of the first 30 minutes of his stint.
Returning to green flag racing with under an hour to go, Brabham took the opportunity to retake Graf for second while Johnny Cocker charged from third to take the lead in the Drayson Racing Lola.
The race battle soon became a fight to conserve fuel in an effort to avoid a splash and dash stop in the closing stages. While running on fuel save mode, Brabham did a sterling job to maintain position until Graf slipped back through while navigating traffic with 40 minutes remaining.
Brabham kept clocking up consistent lap times despite heavy traffic, keeping the lead pair in sight before reeling in the leaders approaching the final 20 minutes, at which point Drayson Racing was forced to pit for fuel.
Mounting a characteristic charge to the chequered flag, Brabham sliced Graf's lead to 3 seconds with 10 minutes to go as Cocker began his challenge back through the field. Brabham did a remarkable job of defending from the fuelled Dyson Mazda, only relinquishing to Cocker to comfortably hold third and take more vital points in the LMP title fight.
Brabham commented: "It was a fantastic race today and another great job from the Highcroft crew. We walk away with solid championship points, which was exactly our aim.
"It was tough for us here, but we turned everything around to be in the hunt for the win. We were better on the straights, which is what we wanted, but that setup made the corners more challenging.
"I was in fuel saving mode for much of my session. The way the yellows fell meant we were on a one-stopper. I couldn't lean on the tyres and that gave us some problems with pickup, which caused the car to be inconsistent. That's when Klaus [Graf] was able to slip back past.
"We started to push in the final stages and Klaus picked up the pace at the same time. We both crossed the finish line with very little fuel. We wouldn't have made it around another lap so it was an exciting finish.
"We've earned important points here today so I am very pleased with such a solid result."
Brabham now heads for his 100th American Le Mans Series race, and the only Canadian round, next weekend with a 20-point championship lead. With 50 points on offer in the final two races, 20 points next weekend at Mosport and a bumper 30 points in the season finale round at Petit Le Mans next month, there's still everything to fight for.