Brabham On Solid Form Ahead Of Le Mans 24 Hours
Friday 12 June 2009, UK; Sports car star David Brabham is fully focussed and ready to tackle his 16th career Le Mans 24 Hours race after valuable running time in the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP saw the British-born Australian deliver solid qualifying and practice sessions in the run up to Saturday's epic event.
The 43 year-old double Le Mans GT1 class winner and current LMP1 American Le Mans Series championship leader ran as high as second overall in the final half hour of the first qualifying period on Thursday evening. Brabham set a fastest time of 3'27.026 around the 8.4 mile La Sarthe circuit, just 2.174 seconds off the leading #8 Peugeot, before finishing his stint in third and handing over to team mate Marc Gene.
Equally as important as setting promising qualifying times was the opportunity for Brabham to glean valuable race set-up data and particularly to try out different tyre strategies.
"Qualifying is essentially practice at Le Mans and our main focus today was getting a good race set-up and tyre evaluation," said Brabham. "We achieved everything we wanted to in today's sessions. The other two cars went a little more for qualifying pace but we are very happy that we now have a good race car. We'll be working on a couple of things tomorrow for Saturday's warm up and we'll see what those changes give us in terms of set-up.
"Today was the longest time I've had in the car here so far, so that was really valuable. The track was pretty greasy and dirty in my first stint but as the evening wore on and the track cleaned up, the times just got better and better. I haven't driven a prototype around here for a few years so it took some time to get used to it but I quickly got into a rhythm.
"It's great to see Peugeot on pole and it's clear that there isn't much between us and the Audis, so it's going to be a cracking race. Le Mans really is the pinnacle of my year and it's getting close now. I'm racing with a great team, in a great car, driving with great team mates and working with a fantastic group of people, so I'm really looking forward to the race."
Marc Gene qualified the #9 Team Peugeot Total car in fifth position while the sister Peugeots took pole position and third. Today's positive form leaves Brabham optimistic of achieving his dream of taking his first LMP1 win and third consecutive Le Mans class spoils to join an elite band of drivers to claim victory in different classes.
The flag will fall to start the 2009 race battle at 3pm local time on Saturday 13 June. Tune into live online radio coverage at www.radiolemans.com. For further information on the Le Mans 24 Hours, including live timing and full results, visit www.lemans.org