BRABHAM, SHARP DUO REFUSES TO BE DENIED SUNDAY AT MOSPORT,
PATRÓN HIGHCROFT PAIR LEAD ACURA TO FIRST 1-2 ALMS FINISH
Gil de Ferran Sees Victory Lost on Final Lap In Fuel-Strategy Event
BOWMANVILLE, Ont., CA - David Brabham and Scott Sharp stood in Victory Lane for the fourth time in the 2008 American Le Mans Series Sunday, but both drivers had to feel for fellow Acura pilots Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud following the Grand Prix of Mosport, northeast of Toronto.
Brabham made another remarkable charge on the legendary 2.54-mile road circuit to capture the LMP2 class title with the No. 9 Patrón Highcroft Acura ARX-01b prototype sports car. The victory for Brabham and Sharp closed them to within 10 points of LMP2 point leaders Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas with three races remaining in the season.
Brabham and Sharp's win was coupled with a second-place finish by Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz in the No. 15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura for the manufacturer's first 1-2 American Le Mans Series finish since Acura joined the road-racing tour last year. It was Fernandez and Diaz' top finishing position in 2008.
The two-hour, 45-minute contest saw some of the most sensational wheel-to-wheel action ever seen in the 10-year history of the American Le Mans Series. But it was the performance of former Indy 500 winner de Ferran that stunned the large Canadian crowd Sunday.
The personable Brazilian, who retired from the cockpit in 2003, drove a spectacular event to hold a 12-second advantage with just 10 minutes remaining. His No. 66 Panasonic ELS Surround Acura looked to be headed to a first ALMS win for the newly-formed de Ferran Motorsports squad. De Ferran played a fuel-strategy game against the likes of Brabham, Fernandez and the pair of Penske Porsches, and he drove brilliantly.
At the end, the overall-leading Audi of Lucas Luhr crossed the start/finish line just one second prior to the scheduled minimum race time of two hours, 45 minutes, necessitating the completion of another lap prior to the checkered flag. De Ferran's car ran out of fuel on the back straightaway on that final circuit and was relegated to a fifth-place finish in the LMP2 division.
Brabham and Fernandez then battled to the finish line, completing Acura's 1-2 placing.
Franck Montagny, co-driving with Englishman James Rossiter in the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio Andretti Green Acura ARX-01b, actually led the overall standings before a late-race pit stop consigned him to fourth in the LMP2 class. Early contact between Rossiter's XM Acura and a GT car hurt the aerodynamics of the AGR machine, but the French star wheeled the injured machine to a strong finish.
The American Le Mans Series moves to the streets of Detroit for the ninth of 11 races, the Belle Isle Grand Prix, on Saturday, Aug. 30. The race will be seen live on Speed-TV.