Road Atlanta: Acura qualifying report

BRABHAM TAKES HIGHCROFT ACURA TO THIRD IN PETIT QUALIFYING Three Acura Prototypes Seek Petit Le Mans Victory in Saturday's 10-Hour Classic BRASELTON, Ga. -- David Brabham was hanging on the edge with his No.9 Highcroft Rac- ing Acura ARX-01a ...

BRABHAM TAKES HIGHCROFT ACURA TO THIRD IN PETIT QUALIFYING
Three Acura Prototypes Seek Petit Le Mans Victory in Saturday's 10-Hour Classic

BRASELTON, Ga. -- David Brabham was hanging on the edge with his No.9 Highcroft Rac- ing Acura ARX-01a Friday in qualifications for Saturday's 10th anniversary of the Petit Le Mans on the fast, repaved, 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road circuit.

Brabham, the 1999 Petit Le Mans winner, slid his bright blue Acura prototype around the 12-turn course to post the third-fastest speed in the LMP2 with a clocking of 130.629 miles per hour. Brabham's run was especially impressive since the Highcroft car had to be repaired after a morning incident in the rain tore up the rear wheel and bodywork. The Australian said his car was extremely loose (oversteering) but he continued to press on to his fast qualifying speed.

But Brabham, who'll team up with Stefan Johansson and Robbie Kerr in Saturday's feature race, wheeled his machine to a time more than a second quicker than the LMP2 track record set last year by Lucas Luhr. Leading the LMP2 class Saturday will be the Penske Porsche of Romain Dumas.

Starting next to Brabham on the grid will be Sebring winner Bryan Herta in the No.26 XM Satel- lite Radio Acura ARX-01 with a speed of 130.214 m.p.h. Herta will be co-driving the Andretti Green Racing entry with IndyCar Series regulars Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira in Saturday's race, which be- gins at 11:15 a.m. (EDT).

Luis Diaz recorded the sixth-fastest LMP2 speed Friday by taking the No.15 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura Lola to a lap of 129.311 m.p.h. Diaz will team with fellow Mexican Adrian Fernandez.

DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01a): "I am pleased with our run in qualifying since we had an incident in the rain this morning. There was a lot of body work to replace before qualifying. Luckily, the gearbox and suspension were okay. The Highcroft team did a tremendous job getting the Acura back together for qualifying. The car was on the edge there in qualifying. I was hanging on for a long time. The car was very loose. That might have been the case for everyone. I could see that the track was very dirty from the earlier rain. So, we waited in the pits to go out for qualifying. Once the track was pretty clean, we went out for a flying lap. We think we know what we need for the race. That is half the battle when you go into the Petit."

BRYAN HERTA (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01a): "The run was good. That was about as high as we have been up the time sheets this week. We have struggled to keep pace a little this week. We still have some work to do for the race. It has a potential to be a wild race. In the esses, it is difficult to pass a slower GT car with a faster prototype. You have to have patience throughout the race. Our plan is to get to the end. We want to run the same race we ran at Sebring with consistent laps, good pit stops and no real problems."

LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura Lola 06/40): "I would have liked to have been a little further up the grid. But the Lowe's Acura feels good in race conditions. We have run a lot of different settings this week and we feel we have a good car for the 10-hour race. Actually, Adrian and I have been watching a lot of video of last year's race, and that really gave us a feel for the racing conditions. Overall, Adrian and I believe we have a car to win here. It will be a tough race with the traffic of the slower cars."

-credit: acura motorsports

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Stefan Johansson , Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Lucas Luhr , Luis Diaz , Robbie Kerr , Vitor Meira