Heartbreak for de Ferran Motorsports on the streets of St Petersburg ST PETERSBURG, FL, Saturday, April 4, 2009: The no.66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a missed out on winning today's Acura Sports Car Challenge staged on the ...
Heartbreak for de Ferran Motorsports on the streets of St Petersburg
ST PETERSBURG, FL, Saturday, April 4, 2009: The no.66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a missed out on winning today's Acura Sports Car Challenge staged on the streets of St Petersburg in Florida. Having qualified on pole position, the de Ferran Motorsports entry seemed on target to capture the team's maiden victory in the round two of the 2009 American Le Mans Series before cruelly being sidelined by electrical issues.
All appeared to be going to plan as team owner/driver Gil de Ferran took full advantage of his starting position, setting the race's fastest lap in building up a near 30-second lead over the similar Acura ARX-02a of eventual winners Scott Sharp and David Brabham. However the team's victory hopes first were interrupted by the unfortunate timing of the race's only full course caution - the safety car appearing just after de Ferran had pitted to hand the no.66 Acura over to team mate Simon Pagenaud. Other rival teams had yet to pit and were able to refuel and change drivers during the caution and thus gain an advantage. This set-back, though, was soon overshadowed by a recurring electrical glitch which resulted in the car dropping down the leader-board and failing to finish, eventually to be classified third in the LMP1 class and unlucky 13th overall.
"We're obviously disappointed not to get to the end of this race, particularly after such a good start," reported de Ferran. "I feel sorry for the whole team who really - together with the Acura engineers - gave us a great car this weekend. We were running really well. Just before my pit stop, I started having trouble with the tires. And then, once Simon got into the car, we started having electrical issues, which eventually led to our retirement from the race. We had a great pace and we are looking forward to the race in Long Beach in two weeks."
Pagenaud was equally frustrated not to take full advantage of the XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura's obvious race winning pace. "The car was showing a great pace when Gil drove," said the Frenchman. "My stint was starting really well, but then I started experiencing some electrical issues - the car was just dying and I would re-start it and it would just die again. We just didn't have much time to find the problem and fix it."
Like de Ferran, though, Pagenaud believes the team is well placed to bounce back when the ALMS series reconvenes in downtown Long Beach on 16-18 April. He continued: "I'm feeling really positive because the car was really fast and was driving beautifully. I'm excited for the event in Long Beach as I think we have a good opportunity on street courses."