St. Pete: Acura qualifying report

BRABHAM TAKES PATRON HIGHCROFT ACURA TO SECOND IN LMP2 QUALIFYING AT ST. PETERSBURG Herta, Fernandez Post Fifth, Seventh Positions For Saturday's ALMS Acura Challenge ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Brabham threaded his bright green,...

BRABHAM TAKES PATRON HIGHCROFT ACURA TO SECOND IN LMP2 QUALIFYING AT ST. PETERSBURG

Herta, Fernandez Post Fifth, Seventh Positions For Saturday's ALMS Acura Challenge

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Brabham threaded his bright green, blue and black No. 9 Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01b prototype through the tight confines of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course in St. Petersburg Friday to take the second starting position in the LMP2 class for Saturday's Acura Sports Car Challenge.

The Aussie native, who won the Houston pole last year, came back from a slight on-track incident to record a speed of 101.72 miles per hour, just missing the pole position of 101.92 MPH set by Romain Dumas.

Brabham, who is attempting to become the first driver in American Le Mans Series history to win in all four series classes Saturday, had to fight off a strong LMP2 field as well as some minor wing damage on his Acura.

Brabham will team with former IndyCar Series and Trans-Am champion Scott Sharp in the one hour, 55-minute race, set for 1:25 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The race will be televised live on ABC-TV.

Bryan Herta, the first IndyCar pole winner at St. Petersburg in 2005, drove the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Andretti Green Racing Acura ARX-01b to fifth on the starting grid with a speed of 101.31 MPH. Herta, last year's Sebring champion, will partner in Saturday's Acura Sports Car Challenge with veteran Christian Fittipaldi, who makes his first St. Petersburg start.

Mexican driving star Adrian Fernandez collected the seventh-fastest LMP2 qualifying speed at 100.40 MPH after a troublesome afternoon session with the No. 15 Lowe's Acura ARX-01b. The popular driver actually drove just four minutes of the 20-minute qualifying session due to a faulty gear shifter. The Lowe's crew made a quick change for repairs and Fernandez vaulted from 24th overall to seventh in the final few minutes.

DAVID BRABHAM (#9 Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-01b): "I thought I had a shot at the LMP2 pole today. But we had a little damage to the body work and we didn't have the proper downforce we needed to go a bit quicker. We just missed that little opportunity to go for the pole. Overall, I am very pleased with the Patron Highcroft Acura for the race. I expect our car to be fighting for the lead all day on Saturday. The track didn't get too slippery in qualifying, which will give us some information for the race too."

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (#15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura ARX-01b): "We had some issues with gears in qualifying. The crew changed the ECU [electrical] box and it was better. However, I got four minutes in the track at the end and the car slid around a little too much. We had a little too much push [understeer], but we'll fix that for the race. I think we have a good race car."

BRYAN HERTA (#26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01b): "We've just kind of been hanging around the charts, doing okay. I think the XM Satellite Radio Acura got closer, but we didn't get all the way to where we need to be. For some reason, we just weren't as good at the start as we were hoping to be, so we've been playing catch-up a bit with the setup. I think we're better now, and we have another shot to make some changes overnight."

-credit: acura

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Scott Sharp , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Bryan Herta , Romain Dumas