Second Place for de Ferran Motorsports in nail-biting sprint to the finish; de Ferran (front) in close fought battle at Road America Elkhart Lake, WI, Sunday, August 16, 2009: de Ferran Motorsports' season-long battle with fellow LMP1 Acura...
Second Place for de Ferran Motorsports in nail-biting sprint to the finish; de Ferran (front) in close fought battle at Road America
Elkhart Lake, WI, Sunday, August 16, 2009: de Ferran Motorsports' season-long battle with fellow LMP1 Acura squad, Patron Highcroft Racing continued today at Road America in sensational style with a tension-fuelled charge to the line after two hours and 45 minutes of thrilling motorsport. This time de Ferran Motorsports had to settle for the second place podium slot but not without putting up a superb fight losing out by under half a second in round seven of the series - the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase featuring the American Le Mans Series.
The scene was set for a magnificent show-down after the No 66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a has dominated the last four events emerging victorious in every encounter since Long Beach in mid-April. Again the de Ferran Motorsports duo of team owner, (two-time Indy Car Champion and 2003 Indianapolis winner), Gil de Ferran and super-fast Frenchman, Simon Pagenaud were looking set to continue the winning streak but the Highcroft car of David Brabham and Scott Sharp jumped ahead when the de Ferran camp chose to go for an early pit stop under the first yellow.
Said Simon Pagenaud who started the race from pole position, "...the car was handling really well and we were very well-prepared for this event. Early in the race, we had to make a choice as we were leading and we decided to pit early under the first yellow, which I think was a great move, but the second yellow was really unlucky and basically ruined our race. But, it's racing and it's one of those days where you just have a bit less luck. The racing was exciting. Scott [Sharp] and I had a good fight and Gil and David [Brabham] had a fantastic battle at the end. I'm glad for the fans; I think we put on a fun show for them. I'm happy for another clean sweep for Acura and congratulations to the Highcroft team, they did a good job."
Team boss, Gil de Ferran who drove the car to pole in yesterday's qualifying session reiterated Simon's comments,
"...we were a little unlucky today with the yellows," he concluded. "They fell at just the wrong times for us and we lost our track position. I was fighting hard to gain it back on the track from David [Brabham]. I felt that we were quicker, but I just couldn't get close enough to him to attempt to overtake. The car just picked up too much understeer behind him. It was a great battle; David didn't make any mistakes and deserved the victory. Onwards to Mosport. We come out of Road America with our heads held high!"
It was to be an Acura one-two-three with third place going to the LMP2 entry of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Dias.
Round eight of the American Le Mans series, the Mobil 1-sponsored Grand Prix of Mosport, takes place on August 27-30 2009. This fascinating LMP1 dual is certain to continue!