With the 2010 American Le Mans Series championship at stake it was down to the Patron Highcroft Racing team and its drivers to run a strong and faultless race here today. Following three days of practice sessions undertaken in both daylight and...
With the 2010 American Le Mans Series championship at stake it was down to the Patron Highcroft Racing team and its drivers to run a strong and faultless race here today.
Following three days of practice sessions undertaken in both daylight and darkness this week, Marino and his co-drivers, David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud, were reporting the #1 LMP2 Patron Highcroft Racing HPD ARX-01c to be a very good race car to undertake the 1,000 miles around this 2.54 mile very fast and flowing circuit that is Road Atlanta.
It was David Brabham who qualified the #1 car eighth overall and third in LMP2 class here yesterday afternoon; all three of the LMP2 cars being separated by just two-tenths of a second. "David did a fantastic job and really got the most out of the car. He's put us in a great position" said Marino after the 25 minute session. "It is a long race and we are all very happy with the car we have - we're ready to go racing! This race really is an absolute classic even though it's only been around for 13 years. It's an event all the drivers and fans really look forward to and being the final round of the Series this year, it brings extra importance to it and you feel the atmosphere build as the week goes on".
The weather conditions were ideal when Simon took the green flag at 11.30am this morning, and in front of a capacity crowd Marino, his co-drivers and his Patron Highcroft Racing team put on an excellent performance, the pit stops were perfection and the driver changes were faultless. All three drivers rotated through their driving stints and it was during lap 276, whilst under a full course caution, that the team completed the 70% running they needed to secure the 2010 ALMS Championship. The remaining 30% of the race continued in the same faultless fashion enabling the Patron Highcroft Racing team to finish not only as the 2010 ALMS Champions, but also as winners of the LMP2 category (having lead from lap 18) and fourth overall at this 13th running of Petit Le Mans.
The win in Atlanta today brings Marino not only his second consecutive win at this now classic event (Marino won the LMP2 class in 2009 in the Dyson Racing Mazda), but his tally of ALMS race podiums this season to three out of three, two wins - an overall race win in Laguna Seca and the LMP2 Class win here today plus a 2nd placed podium in LMP2 (and pole position) at the 12 Hours of Sebring. It is worthy of note that Marino has taken a race podium in every ALMS race in which he has competed since the end of the 2008 season, in total 13 podiums from 13 races, a trait Marino will aim to maintain in 2011.
"My thanks to Duncan (Dayton) for taking me into his team as their third driver this season and my congratulations to everyone at Patron Highcroft Racing and HPD as well as my two team-mates, David and Simon, on winning this Championship; it is so deserved for all the efforts everyone has put in this year, I am just very proud of being a part of it", said a delighted Marino after the race. "We had some great results and Patron Highcroft Racing were outstanding throughout the entire season and again here today, they made it look easy from the outset, it was a brilliant race and the best result after all the trials and tribulations we've been through. The perfect end to a fantastic season, now I'm just looking forward to tying my plans down for next year so that we can pick up where we left off this year".