11 October 2009
Brabham title crowns 'unbelievable year'.
Along with co-driver Scott Sharp, David Brabham was crowned American Le Mans Series champion at the final round of the season at Laguna Seca, signing off a highly-successful season with yet another podium finish to add the US title spoils to his Le Mans 24 Hours victory.
The only driver to boast pole positions and wins in all ALMS classes, Brabham can now add the title to his illustrious CV after racing in the premier championship since its inception in 1999. Ten years on and an impressive race log of three pole positions, a hat-trick of wins, four second places, plus a recovering charge to sixth at Petit Le Mans, ensured Brabham and Sharp secured the ALMS laurels.
The Patrón Highcroft crew have been strong season long, but the phenomenal effort to build a brand new car and make the Road Atlanta round two weeks ago cemented their championship chances. Thanks to their heroic work, Brabham and Sharp entered the final round needing to complete just 70 per cent of the race distance to be certain of the title.
The four-hour Laguna Seca race was not without incident, however, as the team had to escape a major incident with minor bodywork damage and overcome an electrical glitch to take the podium for the final time in 2009.
“The team has worked so hard for so long and it's absolutely fantastic to finally take the ALMS championship title,” Brabham admitted, “We've been up against some terrific competition all year - de Ferran is a quality team with excellent drivers, so it really means something to beat them.
“I can't say enough about the Patrón Highcroft crew. These guys are amazing — you just have to look at what they have achieved and bounced back from over the years to prove how good they really are.
“This has been an unbelievable year for me. Winning the Le Mans 24 Hours was fantastic, but it also means a lot to take the ALMS title. I've raced in the series since 1999, and I've come close to winning the title before, so it's amazing to finally do it. The ALMS means a lot to me, it's like one big community and the racing is unrivalled.
“I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my father, Sir Jack's, first F1 world championship title in 1959 at the opening Sebring round, and I'm delighted to win both Le Mans and now the ALMS title during what is a special time for the entire family. It's something else to be proud of.”
After qualifying less than one hundredth of a second off pole sitter Gil de Ferran, Brabham got a solid start to retain position before the first full course caution on lap three. When racing resumed on lap nine, a progressing Jon Field dropped Brabham to third until the Patrón Highcroft Acura reclaimed the place on lap 21.
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