Miami: Prodrive Ferrari qualifying report

Brabham takes GTS pole in Prodrive Ferrari 550 The red Ferrari 550 Maranello ( ...

Brabham takes GTS pole in Prodrive Ferrari 550

The red Ferrari 550 Maranello (#80) of David Brabham and Darren Turner will start tomorrow's 8th round of the American Le Mans Series from pole position in the GTS class. The Australian set a fastest time of 50.922 seconds on the 1.2 mile street track, just after midway through the 20- minute qualifying session - his first GTS pole position since joining the Prodrive Ferrari team in July.

The second Care Racing-supported Ferrari was less fortunate in its quest for grid position, having suffered an incident early on in the session which resulted in a lengthy stop for repairs in the pits. Peter Kox, who was qualifying car 88, was able to return to the track before the chequered flag and set a fastest time of 51.929 seconds, placing he and his team mate Tomas Enge in 5th position in class.

David Brabham (AUS), car nr.80:

"Qualifying was good. The car was good, considering we don't get a lot of running to work on it. We came here with a set up which we thought would be okay and it worked well. The Michelin tyres worked very well, were very consistent. It's nice to get pole, but it's going to be some race round here tomorrow! This track is so short, I wasn't sure I liked it at the beginning of the weekend but now I really like it. For the race though, it will be very tough, especially with the track surface. On the last corner of the track, before coming onto the straight, we get really launched - all wheels off the ground."

Peter Kox (NL), car nr.88:

"I don't really know what happened to cause the accident. I braked for the first corner but just went straight on. A coolant alarm had gone off and there was some water on the windscreen, but until we've looked at the data I can't really say exactly what happened. I think it must have been my fault. I must say a big thank you to the guys for getting the car back on the track so at least I could have a few more laps to try and gain a few places on the grid."

Friday morning finally saw some track action and the sportscars were the first of the series to take to the 1.2 mile track. All four drivers found the surface extremely slippery and bumpy - particularly at the chicane coming onto the pit straight.

For Darren Turner it was his first experience of a street circuit. He was cautious in his comments, preferring to wait until he'd completed a few more laps, but acknowledged that it would be very difficult to pass on the track, and that avoiding trouble was going to be a big challenge for all. The Ferrari 550 #80 unfortunately experienced a driveshaft failure towards the end of this morning's practice session which stranded David Brabham on the track, but the team is now looking in good shape for the second hour of practice which immediately precedes qualifying.

Gone flying .

Peter Kox and Tomas Enge, together with Team Principal George Howard- Chappell and engineer Dave Wilcock, were privileged on Wednesday of this to visit the Homestead Air Reserve Base, home of the 482d Fighter Wing of the US Air Force Reserve.

The team members, plus Kox and Enge's Ferrari 550 Maranello, were on hand to explain to the men and women at Homestead a little of their working environment, and in return were treated to a show of acrobatics and aerial versatility by four of the base's F-16 fighter jet pilots.

Whilst the aircraft were away from base, the drivers had an opportunity to 'fly' an F-16 on a simulator - and the Dutchman managed a take off and landing, with a few loops in between.

And, finally, fishing .

Meanwhile, back at the track .the team truckies (having completed the set up in the ALMS paddock) did a spot of late afternoon fishing out of the back of the garage area. The paddock this year is located behind the huge American Airlines arena which backs onto the Biscayne Bay area of Miami. A row of tents has been erected under which all the ALMS teams are based, all backing directly onto the water. Ever prepared for any eventuality, it didn't take long for the Prodrive Ferrari team's truck drivers to produce a couple of fishing rods.

A grand total of 5 fish were caught - the biggest being a whopping 8 inches long .

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Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , David Brabham , Darren Turner , Peter Kox