Brabham's Hopes Dashed at Petit Le Mans David Brabham was denied the chance to even compete in the American Le Mans Series round for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, when his Patron Highcroft Racing Acura was forced to retire after an incident...
Brabham's Hopes Dashed at Petit Le Mans
David Brabham was denied the chance to even compete in the American Le Mans Series round for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, when his Patron Highcroft Racing Acura was forced to retire after an incident on lap 17. The 43 year-old approached the penultimate round of the season just four points adrift of LMP2 class leaders Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas and the non-finish at Petit Le Mans comes as a bitter blow to Brabham and teammate Scott Sharp's championship title chances.
After a sensational run of impressive performances that have seen Brabham take four victories, including an overall win and two outright pole positions, the Petit Le Mans event has been a challenging one. The Patron Highcroft crew did an outstanding job to completely rebuild the Acura overnight, following an incident in Thursday's practice session, in time for qualifying on Friday.
Another solid qualifying performance from Brabham, in a car turning its first laps out of the garage, secured seventh fastest in LMP2. However, on Saturday morning the officials ruled that the Acura had to start from the back of the grid due to missing night practice on Thursday.
Regardless, Sharp got a great start and was in 11th position and seventh in LMP2 when he spun and made contact with the wall at turn 10. Although unharmed, the safety crew led Sharp away from the Acura. If he had been permitted to stay with the car he would have pulled into the pits where the team could get to work.
The officials then allowed Sharp to return to the car but he alone had to make repairs before he could circulate and get back to the pits. But with a broken wishbone, the half shaft out of the gearbox and a problem with the drive train, the Acura was forced to retire before Brabham had even got behind the wheel.
Brabham commented: "It was unfortunate that we had to start from the back of the grid but it wasn't a big deal in what should have been a long race. Scott was making good progress and he got into a good rhythm when he unfortunately hit the wall. We don't know what exactly happened but it meant that I didn't even get in the car and neither did Dario [Franchitti]. It's not great from a championship point of view but now we have to concentrate on rebuilding the car so that we can come back strong and win Laguna Seca for the final round."