David Brabham captured pole position for the Grand Prix of Mosport on Saturday in his Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a.
The reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans champion turned in a best lap of 1 minute 05.323 seconds (135.517 mph) and edged out de Ferran Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud by a scant 0.074 seconds.
Brabham and teammate Scott Sharp, winners two weeks ago at Road America, are looking for their second straight class victory at Mosport. They benefitted a year ago when Gil de Ferran's Acura ran out of fuel on the last lap while leading in LMP2.
The two teams are back at it again this year. With 75 points remaining over the final three events of the season, Brabham and Sharp lead Pagenaud and de Ferran by 13 points. Class winners Sunday receive 20 points.
“You can see how close it is with the points available,” Brabham said. “Every time we are out there, our two cars are neck and neck. When you are on the limit around this place, there is no margin for error. It's one of those daunting race tracks that gets your attention, and there are very few that make you dig deep.
“The challenges here are phenomenal. The Patrón Highcroft Racing guys gave me a good car to grab pole. We were a little behind in the practice but made a slight change that made the difference.”
Intersport Racing's Jon Field qualified fourth overall and third in P1. His best lap was a 1m 06.764s (132.592 mph) in the Lola B06/10-AER that he will drive with son Clint.
Pagenaud and de Ferran had taken every pole in the last four rounds including two weeks ago at Road America. But Brabham and Sharp came away winners in Elkhart Lake with Brabham holding off a fierce challenge from de Ferran in the closing stint.
“We do have a bit of an advantage in the points which is good because anything can happen over the next three events,” Brabham admitted. “It's about confidence and self-belief. Both are very good teams with very good drivers.
“Our program with Acura is transparent. They know what we're doing and they know what they're doing. We know they went slightly different on setup than we did and you could see that there was little difference. It's great to have that relationship with de Ferran off the track but makes it that much tougher on the track.”