Highcroft wins at Road America
David Brabham and Scott Sharp led a Michelin sweep of the top five positions in the 2009 Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase today at Road America, the seventh stop on the 2009 American Le Mans Series. The victory for their Patrón Highcroft Acura came by a margin of just o.461 seconds, the closest of the season, and ended a four race win streak by the rival de Ferran Acura team that finished second.
“Our Acura was really well balanced, the best we have ever had the car all year,” said Brabham. “We were able to change just the two left side Michelin tires on the last pit stop to make sure that we got ahead of the de Ferran car. Our car was still very good and we ran very hard all the way to the finish.”
“Gil (de Ferran) was breathing down my neck,” said Brabham. “He is such a great competitor and they have won four in a row. My biggest fear was traffic, but we believe that going through times just makes you stronger and we believed in ourselves and our team.”
The Lowe’s Fernandez Acura of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz took the team’s sixth LMP2 class victory in seven races by stretching fuel mileage in the early stages of the race and then double-stinting their Michelin tires for the final one hour and 38 minutes of the two hour 45 minute race.
Joining them in a Michelin sweep of the LMP2 class podium were the Dyson Racing Lola Mazda driven by Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti who also took fourth place overall. Finishing third in LMP2 and fifth place overall with another impressive run was the Cytosport Racing Porsche RS Spyder of Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf.
Scoring their first ALMS victory with their new BMW M3 from BMW Rahal Letterman Racing which took a 1-2 finish were Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen and their teammates who found their two second class lead suddenly become nearly two minutes (one lap) when the first caution period came just 20 minutes into the race and found the race leader positioned between them and their top competitors.
The new Michelin fitted Corvette GT2 car of Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell fought past the Flying Lizard Porsche of Patrick Long in the closing moments to claim its second podium in two GT2 class starts.
“Road America is the longest circuit we race in the ALMS at 4.0 miles and it always produces great races,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin Motorsports manager. “The battle for the overall win between the two Acura prototypes, and the Acura, Mazda, Porsche fight in LMP2 were certainly exciting for the fans. The GT2 class had some great battles for the last spot on the podium and we congratulate our friends from BMW, Dunlop and BMW Rahal Letterman Racing on their first victory with their new program. They are great competitors and we look forward to the rest of the season,” said Mammone.