DE FERRAN AND PAGENAUD TAKE PODIUM ON DEBUT SALT LAKE CITY, Ut. (May 18, 2008) -- de Ferran Motorsports scored a podium finish on debut today with Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud driving the No. 66 Acura ARX-01b prototype through to third...
DE FERRAN AND PAGENAUD TAKE PODIUM ON DEBUT
SALT LAKE CITY, Ut. (May 18, 2008) -- de Ferran Motorsports scored a podium finish on debut today with Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud driving the No. 66 Acura ARX-01b prototype through to third place from the back of the field.
A last lap spin in qualifying yesterday forced de Ferran to relinquish his front row starting position - moving to the back of the pack with fresh rubber. The former Indy 500 winner swiftly moved through the pack, gaining more track position when electing to not to pit under the first safety car period.
de Ferran had moved into the LMP2 class lead after 73 minutes before handing over to Pagenaud. The young Frenchman continued the team's strong pace, setting the fastest lap of the race and moving into the race lead at the 2 hour, 5 minute mark.
Despite battling radio communication problems with the de Ferran Motorsports crew, Pagenaud made his final stop five minutes later for fuel and tires. In his final stint, the Panasonic ELS Sound Acura had moved back through the pack to be third at the checkered flag.
GIL DE FERRAN
"It really was a great day for us. To get on the podium and finish so close to the leader is a fantastic result.
"I had to be careful coming from the back of the pack but the car certainly had good speed. The first yellow was a little too early for us but the end result is outstanding --- I couldn't be more pleased.
"Simon did a brilliant job at the finish, but for me, sitting on the pit wall, the final 10 minutes seemed to take forever.
"We now have a large break before the next race at Lime Rock so we will have plenty of opportunity to regroup, take a breath and put some more testing miles under our belt to be even better prepared for our second race.
"Thanks again to Acura, Panasonic and all our guys on the crew -- everyone is delighted with the day."
"It was certainly busy out there on track. The first few laps after I got in the car was pretty tough making my way through some of the GT cars.
"But the car was getting better and better as the race went on. I was pushing very hard towards the finish trying to catch the Porsche but I really enjoyed race -- it was probably the best race I've had in my career.
"A few more laps would have been handy but it is always good to start on a high note, but not too high -- third place will keep everyone really motivated to do even better next time.
"The most stressful part for me was sitting on the sidelines when Gil was in the car -- that was a new experience for me -- but I really did enjoy this style of racing."