Michelin scores 99th ALMS win
Michelin’s 99th victory in the American Le Mans Series came through a young de Ferran Motorsports Acura team celebrating its very first overall ALMS victory.
It was here, just fifty-two weeks ago, that Indy champion driver Gil de Ferran introduced young Simon Pagenaud as his surprise choice as co-driver for de Ferran’s new Acura prototype American Le Mans Series team. Today, having moved up to the LMP1 class, they strode to the top of the podium at America’s most iconic street circuit to claim the team’s first ever victory and become the latest team to help push the Michelin victory total to the brink of a major milestone.
“I thought that a young puppy (Pagenaud) and an old dog make a better combination than two old dogs,” laughed de Ferran as he headed to congratulate his team. “This is Acura’s home race. To be here in Long Beach, less than a year since our first race, and to be on top of the podium as the overall race winner and winner of the MICHELIN Green X Challenge is a great day for Acura and for our entire team,” said De Ferran.
Finishing second was the Patrón Highcroft Acura of St. Petersburg race winners David Brabham and Scott Sharp. The de Ferran victory was the second consecutive ALMS win for the innovative “four square” (wide front) Acura prototypes.
The Lowe’s Fernandez Acura team of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz kept its 2009 ALMS scorecard perfect by winning in LMP2 class for the third consecutive race. The rapidly developing new Dyson Mazda Lola prototypes took fourth and fifth place followed by the GT1 class winning Corvette. Michelin and its technical partner teams swept the top six finishing positions and won all four ALMS classes.
Claiming a 70th and final American Le Mans Series GT1 class victory before heading to the 24 Hours Le Mans in June, Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta finished sixth overall and will return in mid-summer to introduce an exciting new GT2 class Corvette.
The Flying Lizard Porsche of Patrick Long and Joerg Bergmeister backed up a win at St. Petersburg with another here on the 1.968-mile street circuit to finish eighth overall. After starting from the back of the field, the Risi Ferrari, finished second in the GT2 class and ninth overall.
“Michelin is pleased to congratulate our friends at de Ferran Motorsports on their very first ALMS win,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin Motorsports manager.
Michelin will seek its 100th American Le Mans Series race victory on May 17th at the Miller Motorsports Park at Salt Lake City, Utah. The race will be just the 103rd race in the history of the series.