BRABHAM LEADS ACURA ASSAULT IN SATURDAY'S QUALIFYING; TEAMS TAKE SECOND THROUGH FIFTH SLOTS IN MOSPORT LMP2 CLASS Brabham, Sharp Seek Fourth Win of the Season On Fast Canadian Circuit BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada -- David Brabham...
BRABHAM LEADS ACURA ASSAULT IN SATURDAY'S QUALIFYING; TEAMS TAKE SECOND THROUGH FIFTH SLOTS IN MOSPORT LMP2 CLASS
Brabham, Sharp Seek Fourth Win of the Season On Fast Canadian Circuit
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada -- David Brabham took his best crack at another pole position Saturday for Sunday's Grand Prix of Mosport on the lightning-fast, 2.54-mile Mosport International Raceway road course.
The three-time 2008 event winner wheeled his No. 9 blue, green and black Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01b in search of his third LMP2 pole of the year during the 20-minute qualifying session for the eighth round of the American Le Mans Series. The Aussie never-say-die attitude pushed him to a clocking of 137.028 miles per hour.
However, that effort just missed the LMP2 pole speed of 137.635 mph set by Romain Dumas's Porsche.
Brabham jumped to the top of the speed charts early in the qualifying run and tried a late-session dash before traffic ended his charge with three minutes left. Brabham and driving partner Scott Sharp will start second on the LMP2 grid in Sunday's two-hour, 45-minute contest, set for 3:05 p.m. EDT and broadcast live on SPEED TV.
The top 10 overall qualifiers broke the Mosport track record of 134.476 mph Saturday.
Brabham's run helped Acura drivers take second through fifth places during qualifying.
Road America LMP2 pole winner Franck Montagny was just a tick behind Brabham in the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Andretti Green Acura ARX-01b prototype with a speed of 136.994 mph. Montagny, who'll co-drive with Englishman James Rossiter, bettered his speed four different times in the 20-minute qualifying round, but had to settle for third at the checkered flag.
Veteran Luis Diaz notched the fourth LMP2 spot with his No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b machine after fighting through some early traffic. The personable Mexican racer tripped the speed clocks at 135.871 mph. Diaz will co-drive with team owner Adrian Fernandez in the team's quest for its first LMP2 victory on Sunday.
French youngster Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five qualifying slots in LMP2 with a 135.865 mph at the controls of the No. 66 Panasonic ELS Surround Acura ARX-01b sports car. Pagenaud, in his first appearance at the difficult Mosport circuit, came from 10th to fifth on the grid with three strong laps late in his run. Team owner and co-driver Gil de Ferran was pleased with his team's progress in its first Mosport effort.
DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01b): "We knew we probably only had one shot in qualifying due to the traffic on this track. It is so fast here that it is easy to get caught up with other cars. Overall, I think we have a very good race car. Scott and I are pleased with the balance of the Acura chassis. We have good solid baseline and we just need to make little changes at each track now. We have the right pace for the race. I have logged a lot of miles at Mosport and the race will be much different than qualifying. Slower cars can hold you up here more than at any other track. You can lose as much as five or six seconds in a turn and maybe ten seconds a lap. We'll have to adjust for those kind of conditions in the race."
FRANCK MONTAGNY (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01b): "The XM Acura is quite good now. We seem to have a good start for the setting up the chassis. I think we had a little faster car, but we are right with [David] Brabham. James [Rossiter] and I are working much better this weekend after we learned about each other's driving at Road America. I think we have good balance for the race. We should be right there for the win on Sunday."
LUIS DIAZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b): "I got blocked a little on my fastest lap, so I am little disappointed with my lap time. But we ran the Lola here last year and the Acura is a different chassis for this track. We are still learning how to handle this track with its unusual turns. We should be competitive in the race."
SIMON PAGENAUD (#66 Panasonic ELS Surround Acura ARX-01b): "This is a very difficult track to get used to for driver. Boy, it is fast and there are not places to rest. We have made a lot of progress this week. Gil and I are ready now."