Mid-Ohio: Acura Motorsports qualifying report

DE FERRAN RECORDS ANOTHER MID-OHIO POLE SATURDAY, THEN ANNOUNCES HE WILL RETIRE FROM THE COCKPIT Acura Notches 1-2-3 ALMS Qualifying Sweep LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Gil de Ferran made a big statement on the track Friday at Mid-Ohio...

DE FERRAN RECORDS ANOTHER MID-OHIO POLE SATURDAY, THEN ANNOUNCES HE WILL RETIRE FROM THE COCKPIT
Acura Notches 1-2-3 ALMS Qualifying Sweep

LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Gil de Ferran made a big statement on the track Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in qualifying for Saturday's Acura Sports Car Challenge, the sixth stop in the American Le Mans Series. Then he made an even bigger statement in the media center after earning his pole position.

De Ferran, the 41-year-old veteran driver from Brazil, posted the fastest speed in the 20-minute qualifying session on the 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio circuit in his No. 66 XM Satellite Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a sports car with a speed of 117.057 miles per hour while winning his team's fifth pole of the 2009 ALMS campaign.

Then the two-time CART driving champion and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner announced he is retiring from driving at the conclusion of the 2009 season. The final ALMS race is set for Monterey, Calif., on Oct. 10.

De Ferran's pole run was his fourth consecutive at the popular Mid-Ohio course after taking qualifying honors in 2000 and 2001 in CART open-wheel cars and in 2008 and 2009 in American Le Mans Series prototype sports cars. De Ferran retired from open-wheel racing in 2003 and returned to sports cars last year.

De Ferran, who'll team with young star Simon Pagenaud in Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute race, nipped fellow Acura driver David Brabham by just over one-tenth of a mile per hour for the overall pole. Brabham drove the No.9 Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-02a to a speed of 116.941 m.p.h. for second on the grid.

De Ferran's pole-winning speed led another Acura 1-2-3 overall qualifying performance, the fifth straight for the auto manufacturer in the ALMS road-racing campaign.

Luis Diaz, the Mexican star co-driving with Adrian Fernandez, recorded his third 2009 LMP2 class pole position by rounding out Acura's 1-2-3 qualifying sweep in the No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01b sports car. Fernandez and driving partner Luis Diaz have captured six LMP2 poles this year and will go for their fifth LMP2 race win Saturday.

ACURA QUOTES:

GIL DE FERRAN (#66 XM Radio de Ferran Acura ARX-02a): "Throughout my career, I've always been driven by challenges. While I've enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the No. 66 XM Radio DFM Acura ARX-02a, my main focus moving forward is to continue to build our team into a world-class motorsports organization. I feel that by returning to the cockpit for the past year, I have been competitive and added value to our team as a driver. Overall, I also feel we succeeded in developing this program to a point where I can now step down and dedicate 100 percent of my time to expanding our team. This is my fourth straight pole at Mid-Ohio. This place is very special to me. It felt great to win the pole in my final driving appearance here."

DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a): "That was close for the pole. We have improved our Acura throughout the weekend, and it felt good. I knew Gil would have a strong time in qualifying. He is always good here. I went out on the last two laps and I thought I had a chance for the pole. But the car just understeered a little too much to get under Gil's speed. Overall, I feel good about the car for the race. Traffic will be a factor in the race and we need a car to pass anywhere on the track. I think we'll be right there on Saturday.."

LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b):"It was very close with the Mazda for the pole. It feels great to win a sixth pole position with the Lowe's Acura. But we know we'll have a very tough race in LMP2 on Saturday. We had some mechanical trouble last race at Lime Rock, and the Lowe's team has done a great job just getting everything ready for this weekend."

-credit: acura motorsports

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Gil de Ferran , Luis Diaz , Simon Pagenaud