SEBRING, FL, Saturday, March 21, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing suffered a set-back just after the half-way mark of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring when David Brabham suffered a spin, causing slight damage to the rear of the car. While...
SEBRING, FL, Saturday, March 21, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing suffered a set-back just after the half-way mark of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring when David Brabham suffered a spin, causing slight damage to the rear of the car.
While chasing a lapped car, the #9 Acura ARX-02a spun and made contact with the tire barrier.
Brabham was able to get the car restarted after a delay and returned to the pit lane to change over to Scott Sharp. The Patron Highcroft Racing team changed the rear bodywork and wing assembly plus an electrical component before sending Sharp on his way. Sharp initially was unable to restart the car.
The delay cost the team three laps but did not affect the squad's race position in fifth.
Brabham initially grabbed fifth place at the start of the race and held that spot until lap 15 when he was passed by one of the Peugeot entries that had started from the pit lane.
He made his first stop for fuel on lap 26 after 48 minutes but then was delayed just prior to his second stop after contact with the GT2 Ford GT at the final corner.
Scott Sharp took over after lap 50 and enjoyed a trouble free stint except for a radio malfunction. The driver has been able to hear the crew, but driver comments are not being heard by the Patron Highcroft Racing team.
Dario Franchitti got his first opportunity to record laps in race conditions for the team after a pair of stops after lap 94 - 3 hours and seven minutes into the race.
The team made use of clever pit strategy to delay the initial stop one lap after the leaders headed to pit lane during a safety car period. They then split refueling and tire changes into two stops - staying ahead of the safety car and regaining one lap.
Franchitti moved the #9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura to fifth place after a long pit delay for the #07 Peugeot on lap 142.
David Brabham climbed back aboard on lap 154 (5 hours and 2 minutes into the race) but had to revisit the pit lane for a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane by Franchitti.
At the half point, the team had completed 185 laps.
"The car was really hooked up and I was getting faster and faster. I came up on a lapped car and wasn't attempting a pass. I waited on the guy and when I got back on the throttle the back just swung around.
"I couldn't catch it at all. It wouldn't be so bad if I was able to get it started but it took ages to get going again.
"We seem to have some problems with the starter motor. It is getting harder to start as the day continues, but that is really the only problem we have at the moment apart from the driver."
"I really can't wait to get back in the car. I had a good stint this morning and had some great laps this morning only to catch a bunch of traffic.
"This race is really all about getting through traffic but I think we are doing really well and running consistently. "We probably don't have quite the optimum pace that we would like but we are doing a good job of hanging in there.
"We have to get to the end. This is a brand new LMP1 program really in its infancy so we know the outright pace will come."
"One of the challenges of the Acura is that because it is so quick through the corners so that can really beat you up physically after a while.
"They were telling me over the radio that the Peugeot was catching, but I was giving it everything I had.
"Having followed the Audi and Peugeot through the corners we are much quicker than they are in the turns, but we can't match them on the straights.
"It was a lot of fun to drive and I really enjoyed it but I think I'll go and have a bit of a rest now."