David Brabham and Scott Sharp secured a third LMP2 class victory of the American Le Mans Series season at Road America after the Patron Highcroft Acura finished third overall in the Generac 500.

In an incident packed four-hour race, the pair looked well placed to take the overall honours for the second time this season before the extra torque of the LMP1 Audi diesels enabled them to battle ahead of Brabham in the closing laps.

Brabham had made a solid start from sixth on the grid, and fourth in class, to lie seventh overall in the opening stages before the first full course caution flew on just the fifth lap. When racing resumed, Brabham lay in sixth place chasing down the Penske Porsche of Romain Dumas.

The Australian pushed the Acura to within a few tenths of the Penske Porsche before another Safety Car period on lap 14 saw all of the front runners head for the pits. A quick stop allowed Brabham to jump ahead of the Porsche after an a truncated first hour of racing, he lay sixth overall and third in class.

After a double stint in the car, Brabham pitted to hand the car over to Sharp and he carried the car to the overall lead of the race before he pitted to hand the car back to Brabham.

A decision to quickly pit again for fuel meant that Brabham could run to the finish, although the Acura would be tight on fuel in the closing hour of the race.

After the splash and dash, Brabham rejoined in eighth place and when the cars ahead then pitted under caution, Brabham led the race from Adrian Fernandez and Franck Montagny.

A storming restart from the sportscar veteran to start lap 88 with 35 minutes to go saw Brabham secure the lead six seconds clear of Fernandez but a suspected left rear suspension failure called a halt to Fernandez's race on lap 89 triggering a sixth safety car period. The incident, however, meant that Brabham would not have to pit again and that it would be a straight run to the chequered flag.

With the quicker Audis coming through the field, Brabham lost the lead of the race and Montagny was also able to find a way past - although his race ended soon afterwards after a collision with a GT2 car.

The resultant Safety Car period gave the second Audi the chance to close in and Marcel Fassler found a way past, although Brabham was able to hold on to third place and secure a vital class win to close the gap to Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard.

"When I saw Franck go down the inside of a GT car into Canada Corner I remember thinking that it was going to be close, and then I saw the GT car turn in like he would normally, and Franck hadn't quite made it through," he said. "They tangled and both went off. I was far enough back to get a good run on the exit as they slid off.

"It feels great to have secured our third class win of the season. We were really strong at the beginning of the race but we chose not to change the tyres and they started to go off causing me to drop back. Scott did a great stint and the safety car period played in our favour when we made sure we took on as much fuel as possible.

"It was a great recovery from rejoining down in eighth position, the further safety cars worked our way and if I hadn't got caught up on the back markers I could have had a shot at the win. But we aren't interested in fighting the LMP1 Audis, just the rest of LMP2. I managed to keep Timo [Bernhard] behind me and, although I would have liked a couple of the Acuras to finish ahead of the Penske Porsche, we've still earned vital points, so a fantastic result."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment