St. Pete: Highcroft Racing race report

HIGHCROFT RACING SCORES PODIUM FINISH IN SECOND RACE OF SEASON Saturday, March 31, 2007, St. Petersburg, FL -- Leading the Acura teams by an entire lap, Highcroft Racing finished third in the LMP2 class and fifth overall. The team moved up from...

HIGHCROFT RACING SCORES PODIUM FINISH IN SECOND RACE OF SEASON

Saturday, March 31, 2007, St. Petersburg, FL -- Leading the Acura teams by an entire lap, Highcroft Racing finished third in the LMP2 class and fifth overall. The team moved up from their Sebring Class Position 6 finish to achieve a podium finish in Class Position 3 in tonight's Acura Sports Car Challenge. Owner/driver Duncan Dayton commended the team's progress and said "for such a new program, it's a tremendous result to be on the podium in the second race of the season."

David Brabham, who drove the first stint talked about his interesting start - "the car was running very strong and I had to hold back in order not to pass one of the Porsches before the start/finish line and risk incurring a penalty." When asked for his overall impression of the course, which he was driving for the first time, Brabham remarked on the "the challenge of passing when stuck behind a similar, but slower car, like Butch Lietzinger in the Dyson B #16 car who held us up for 20 laps" and said he "concentrated on finding a safe spot to pass while avoiding contact." His approach was dead on and the car soon pulled up to third place. Brabham achieved the best lap time for the team with 1:05.489 in the 52nd lap.

Taking over for the rest of the race, Stefan Johansson upped the ante and raised the class position to first and the overall position to second. The Acura ARX-01a was running strong and it looked as though the team was going to win the top class position. However, about two hours into the race, the radio went dead and Johansson mistakenly thought the team had called him in to pit. As a result of failing to stop at the pits when he saw the team wasn't ready to refuel the car, Highcroft incurred a stop and go penalty, dropping the team to third in class and fifth overall.

Said Johansson of being so close to finishing on top "obviously it's disappointing when you can taste the win and it slips away from you. But overall, we ran really well and we got to the podium, which is the important thing."

Despite the communication glitch, Dayton emphasized "the strong car that we have for street races. Tonight's class position signifies that we've made great strides in reliability and performance. We finished at the top of the Acura teams and third in class, which is a great shot of confidence for the team and affirmation of their hard work. You can see we're getting more competitive and encountering fewer problems as the season goes on. The Michelin tires performed beautifully on the course and we're extremely pleased with the end result."

The team's next race, at Long Beach in two weeks, is another street course and as Brabham points out "will be more good experience for this young team."

-credit: hr

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Series ALMS
Drivers Duncan Dayton , David Brabham , Stefan Johansson