PATRON HIGHCROFT STORM TO POLE POSITION AT MOSPORT BOWMANVILLE, ON, CANADA, Saturday, August 29, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing stormed to pole position at Mosport International Raceway after David Brabham recorded his 12th American Le Mans ...
PATRON HIGHCROFT STORM TO POLE POSITION AT MOSPORT
BOWMANVILLE, ON, CANADA, Saturday, August 29, 2009: Patron Highcroft Racing stormed to pole position at Mosport International Raceway after David Brabham recorded his 12th American Le Mans Series pole - this one by only .074 of a second.
The result was nearly identically reversed from the recent Mid-Ohio round when the Tequila Patron-sponsored squad missed the top spot by .069 of a second.
Today's pole was the second of the season for the LMP1 championship leading factory Acura squad, repeating the result from the streets of Long Beach in round three of the championship. The result was Brabham's fifth overall pole position in his long ALMS career and his second of 2009.
Brabham and teammate Scott Sharp were second fastest in this morning's damp opening practice session and then topped the timesheet in the second session by more than 3/10ths of a second.
Last year's Mosport LMP2 winning squad waited until 10 minutes into the qualifying session before sending Brabham on track.
Patron Bee After two warm-up laps, Brabham recorded a series of three consecutively faster laps aboard the Acura ARX-02a - 1 minute 5.821 seconds, 1:05.616 and finally the pole setting time of 1:05.323.
Despite an assault on the top spot by de Ferran Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud, the Frenchman could not topple Brabham's time.
The result was the second consecutive pole position at Mosport for Patron Highcroft Racing. Brabham also put last year's Acura LMP2 car on the class pole in 2008.
Brabham dedicated the pole position to Australian racing legend - three-time British Touring Car Champion and BMW Touring Car boss Frank Gardner who passed away on Friday.
After seven rounds of the 2009 season, Brabham and Scott Sharp lead the LMP1 championship by 13 points with only three races remaining. Tomorrow the team will be aiming for its third victory of 2009 - adding to victories earlier this year at St Petersburg and the last race at Road America.
Sharp will take the starting duties in tomorrow's 2 hour, 45 minute event - the final "sprint" race of the 2009 season. The final two races of the year will be staged over 1,000km (or 10 hours) at Petit Le Mans and four hours at Laguna Seca.
SCOTT SHARP "It was a great day for us today. We ran well in the rain this morning but that didn't teach us much for the afternoon after it became dry. "I led most of the session in the afternoon and felt really good, then Brabs backed that up with an even stronger lap. "We're going to start where we wanted tomorrow which is great. "Hopefully the bad weather is all behind us now and we can have a dry race tomorrow. The big storms now appear to be gone. We were competitive in the rain but we also got the car going really strongly in the dry and now we'll be aiming to take advantage of starting from the pole. "If you can be leading it can certainly help in traffic but one wrong move by a lapped car can really cost you some time. "Both Acuras are very evenly matched - only 100ths of a second apart. Getting to the traffic first will hopefully play to our advantage."
DAVID BRABHAM "We chipped away at it and we knew it was going to be very close because the cars are so equal. "This time it was our turn to be in front. We're strong in some corners, and the de Ferran guys are stronger in others so we know where we have to work on the car to make more improvements for tomorrow. "The track temperature made it tricky to bring the Michelin tires up to temperature but the team and our Michelin engineer have worked quite hard on tire pressures, aerodynamics and suspension settings to get the tires to work right in the temperature range they like best. "For qualifying we got it right and we were able to do two or three laps before the grip came in. After that you start to lose their edge. "It is important to keep our focus and momentum going after the Road America victory because it is so close. "This win is for an Australian hero Frank Gardner. He was very close to our family and I was very sad to hear of his passing. This is for you mate."