David Brabham extended his American Le Mans Series championship lead by taking victory in spectacular style in a sensational six-hour showdown at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The reigning ALMS champion rightly predicted a close race for round three, the American Le Mans Series Monterey, as Highcroft Racing targeted two consecutive wins, following victory at Long Beach, to build on their joint LMP title lead.
Not even a penalty that dropped the Highcroft car to the back of the 35-car grid, after Brabham qualified second fastest, could extinguish their hopes. Monumental charges from Brabham, Simon Pagenaud and Marino Franchitti, together with perfect pit work from the Highcroft crew, secured the laurels and a clear class lead.
Brabham took charge of the second-placed HPD ARX-01c after a stellar run from Pagenaud right from the flag, climbing through the field up to fourth by lap four before taking the lead with 4 hours 40 minutes of racing remaining.
The Highcroft Racing car retained the top slot until just before the fourth full course caution pitstops under which Brabham joined the battle for round three, with 3 hours 35 minutes to go.
When racing got under way over ten minutes later, Brabham was ready to get to grips with regaining the team's lead and set Andy Meyrick in his sights. Immediately closing on the Dyson Mazda's rear bumper as the green flag fell, he was picking out a place to pass when the fifth full course yellow halted his advances.
Thanks to lightening reactions, Brabham took the lead at the restart after amazingly avoiding the melee caused by a spinning Meyrick exiting turn eleven, but another safety car period followed as the race hit the halfway mark with 114 laps completed.
Finally clear of cautions on lap 135, after spending almost half his stint circulating under the safety car, Brabham finally got the chance to run at race speed.
Making light work of the heavy traffic, the reigning champion kept charging to consistently clock-up times in the 1minute 15s to comfortably stretch his one lap lead.