Patrón Highcroft Racing came within twelve minutes of victory after a titanic battle in the latest round of the American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock Park before a late puncture left the team to settle for second.
With David Brabham at the wheel, the #9 Acura ARX-02a held a lead of more than eight seconds when a late race pit stop to replace a punctured left hand rear tyre ruined the team's hopes of back–to-back Lime Rock victories.
Brabham grabbed the lead after the team executed a clever second pit stop - electing to change left side tyres only. That put Highcroft into the lead but the puncture and extra stop eventually left rivals de Ferran to secure victory.
"Today was a bit of a roller coaster of a day but I am not too disappointed because we did everything we needed to do in this race,” Brabham said. "We got ourselves in front and I had the race under control but unfortunately I got a puncture and when the competition is that close you can't afford to have anything like that happen. Well done to de Ferran Motorsports. They were in position to take advantage of what happened.
"The team did a brilliant job and made a great tyre choice to get into the lead. We still got second, we still got points and we're still in the lead of the championship so we have to look at all the positives and look at how we can improve going forward. Salt Lake City we were a little too far off on the set-up of the car. When we arrived here we were pretty close. We had to fine tune things a little - it wasn't 100 per cent right for qualifying - but the car was pretty good in the race."
Team-mate Scott Sharp had earlier kept the Highcroft car in the hunt as he remained close to de Ferran through the early stages of the race and he admitted the team had done all it could in the fight for victory.
“Everyone did what they needed to do today,” he said. “Brabs did a great job, the team made an incredible strategy call to leap frog us into the lead and from there we had it in hand. No one expected that with twelve minutes to go we would get a puncture in the left rear and there was no way to fight back from that.
"You hate to give the points away here and the same and Long Beach. That is two races that we should have won. But it is what it is and we now have to set our sights on Mid-Ohio."