David Brabham's lightening performance not only secured his 13th career class American Le Mans Series pole position, but also the best possible starting position for his Danbury, Connecticut-based team, Patr?n Highcroft Racing's home circuit.

Conducting his second qualifying session of the season for the Highcroft crew, the reigning champion took pole during a nail-biting battle with his closest championship rival, Klaus Graf in the Porsche RS Spyder, with a time of 58.106 seconds.

The entire day's track running saw varying downpours of rain and levels of standing water around the 10-turn 1.51-mile Lime Rock Park track. Regardless, Brabham showed his promising pace in both the earlier practice sessions, finishing second fastest behind Graf by just six tenths of a second in each.

The rain began to ease as the 20-minute qualifying session approached but rooster tails of water spray were still flying high as the LMP cars took to the track. Brabham quickly got to grips with the conditions to set the bar on his first flying lap with a time of 1 minute 2.33 seconds, some 2.5 seconds quicker than any other car.

Continuing to take chunks out of his own best times, Brabham was the first to break the 60-second barrier, with just over 12 minutes of the session remaining, and improved lap-after-lap to record a time of 59.400 seconds as a dry racing line began to emerge.

Another stellar strategy pit call from the Patr?n Highcroft crew saw Brabham stop for some final adjustments before rejoining the fray for the final five minutes of qualifying action.

Improving further still, he was the first to then break into the 58-second margin and with just under two minutes remaining Brabham cemented yet another Highcroft pole position by 0.640 seconds.

"It's great to take pole position in such a commanding fashion on home soil," said Brabham. "We have a lot of special guests from GE and Patr?n here this weekend, as well as a lot of family and friends, so it means a lot to all the team.

"I knew I had a good car underneath me for qualifying. I felt comfortable straight away and was able to put in a strong lap from the start. I was really happy with the changes we made in the stop, as the car was pushing a bit too much. It was a great call by the Highcroft crew. The car immediately responded and I was able to go even quicker as the session came to a close.

"There was a lot of water on the track, it was easy to risk aquaplaning, but the conditions improved and the track was in better shape as the session went on. Everything just clicked here today - the team gave me a great car and it was a really close fight, which is always good for the fans.

"It's great to have such close on-track rivalry. Klaus and I go back a long way to Panoz. He's a great driver in a strong car that's 25 kilos lighter and has more downforce, so we knew they would be tough to beat here. But we made the most of qualifying today.

"We don't really know what's in store for us weather-wise tomorrow. Warm-up will be really important to develop a race set-up as we haven't had any dry running yet. It will be interesting to see what develops but our strategy will remain the same -- to keep doing what we are doing and lead from the front."

Brabham and team-mate Simon Pagenaud lead the LMP title fight from Klaus Graf by 11 points ahead of tomorrow's round five battle, following three consecutive race wins at Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Salt Lake City.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment