DANBURY, CT, Monday, 12th April, 2010: Patrón Highcroft Racing's Simon Pagenaud came within inches of grabbing pole position for tomorrow's Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series event at Long Beach - just missing out by only .072 of a second.
The Frenchman had held the fastest time and the HPD ARX-01c machine at the half way point of the 20 minute qualifying session before a red flag interrupted the session.
His time of 1 minute, 13.285 seconds was eclipsed by the Lola Aston Martin of Adrian Fernandez with only minutes remaining.
Pagenaud looked set to regain the pole on a stunning final lap. Team telemetry indicated he was headed for a time 2/10ths of a second faster than his previous best but a small error curtailed the final assault.
This weekend's American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón event is the first race where the more powerful, yet heavier LMP1 machines like the Aston Martin are combined into a single LMP class with the lighter, yet more nimble LMP2 entries like the Highcroft machine.
The straight line speed advantage of the Aston Martin will be the major hurdle for Brabham and Pagenaud tomorrow.
The Australian reigning American Le Mans Series LMP1 champion will start tomorrow's race before handing over to Pagenaud - the man looking to repeat his 2009 Long Beach race victory.
Round 2 of the 2010 American Le Mans Series will be broadcast on same day tape delay starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 245.
"Simon did a really great job out there today. It would have been great to be on pole but a front row start is still very good.
"Off the start tomorrow it will be tough to keep with the Aston Martin down the straight, but I'll have to push very hard on the opening lap to try to get into the lead and open up a big enough gap to negate that straight line speed advantage.
"The team did a great job improving the car throughout the day. We couldn't really take much from this morning's session because the track had no rubber down.
"I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow. I really do love this place and can't wait to get out there.
"The traffic is going to a big challenge but it will provide some good passing opportunities."
"It was very close out there - I had to push very hard.
"That Aston Martin is so quick in the straights that we had to push really hard in the corners.
"The Highcroft squad did a great job in preparing the car. In practice the car was not too good. It didn't ride the bumps really well and we were struggling with the balance.
"The team made some great changes and we went in the right direction on set-up.
"The car was really good in qualifying. I was pushing so hard to be close to the Aston - I was actually up 2/10ths of a second on that last flier but unfortunately I made a little mistake.
"I'll take the blame for that one so hopefully we can do better next time.
"I think the car will be really strong in the race. The Michelin tires were in excellent shape at the end of qualifying and that is a really good sign for tomorrow."