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Highcroft settle for second after rough Mid-Ohio ride

David Brabham and Scott Sharp brought a battered Patron Highcroft Racing Acura home in second place at Mid-Ohio after a bruising encounter in the latest round of the American Le Mans Series season.

After starting second, Sharp fought de Ferran Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud through the Mid-Ohio traffic - the gap stretching back and forth between three and seven seconds in the first stint.

However, seven laps before the team's first pit stop, traffic proved to be the Highcroft team's undoing, with contact between the #9 Acura and the #44 GT2 class Flying Lizard Porsche.

The impact badly damaged the important aerodynamic underbody - ripping out part of the floor. With the underside of the modern prototype sportscars generating a significant amount of the car's downforce, Sharp battled a wildly oversteering car before handing over to Brabham for the run to the flag.

"I was working my way through traffic well and I was tucked up behind a Corvette when the #44 Porsche turned in on me,” Sharp said. "I was very surprised that it did that level of damage and that made for a tough afternoon for Brabs.

"I was hoping it was a bit of a flush hit but it obviously just hit the right spot to do that damage. The underside of these cars are very important for the aero performance and the damage made the car incredibly loose. I was hoping with fresh tyres that it would be OK, but it obviously wasn't.

"We were conserving fuel well and we were in pretty good shape - it was pretty unfortunate.”

Brabham fought hard in his opening stint but could not bridge the gap to leader Gil de Ferran, with the team implemented changes on his second stop to minimise the oversteer. These changes, coupled with a full course yellow allowed Brabham to close the gap to Gil de Ferran but he was forced to settle for second with an ill-handling car.

"Today was not the result we were hoping for,” he said. “The damage at the end of Scott's run made the car nearly undriveable in my first stint. We made some tyre pressure adjustments for the second stint, but there was nothing I could do about it.

"I had to drive as fast as I could but I just didn't have the car underneath me. I've never had the car so bad - I was complaining over the radio because I couldn't stop, couldn't turn and the rear was all over the place. We have to regroup and set our sights on Road America. It was a great result for Gil's team after announcing his retirement and the fire they had here last year with Keith Jones, but it was a shame we had the damage it might have been a different story.

"It would have been better for the fans, but there was nothing I could do about it."



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
American Lemans Series. 7-9 August, 2009. Acura Sports Car Challenge. Mid Ohio Sportscar Course. Lexington, Ohio. David Brabham.
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