David Brabham delivered a solid final qualifying session of the season for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, to put Patrón Highcroft Racing third fastest in LMP2 ahead of tomorrow's 1000-mile/10-hour showdown as he bids for back-to-back American Le Mans Series championship crowns.
Patrón Highcroft Racing has featured strongly in every track session at Road Atlanta. Marino Franchitti opened proceedings in testing on Wednesday by setting the fastest LMP2 time in the HPD prototype.
Simon Pagenaud followed suit, posting the quickest class time in Thursday's first practice. The team elected to miss the afternoon session to fit the race gearbox and suspension components — a wise move as heavy rain saw only nine cars attempting to endure the damp conditions.
Brabham capped off a positive practice day for the team yesterday, clocking up the best LMP2 time during his stint in the two-hour night session.
The reigning champions continued their consistent form during final practice this morning before Brabham undertook the last qualifying honours of the season.
Immediately on the LMP2 pace once again, Brabham's times tumbled throughout the 25-minute session. Featuring as high as fifth overall, he pushed to record the ARX-01c's fastest time of the week so far and broke into the 1min 10secs margin within five flying laps.
The Australian improved further still, his best lap around the 2.54-mile circuit stopping the clocks at 1min 10.661secs — less than one tenth of a second behind the then LMP2 pole sitting CytoSport Porsche.
Content with his afternoon's work, Brabham retired to the pits with twelve minutes remaining. His position on the timing sheets only changed when Guy Smith snatched pole, pushing Brabham down to third.
Regardless, with just eight laps completed against Smith's 13 and the ten laps recorded by the Porsche of championship rival Klaus Graf, Brabham and Highcroft's smart strategy will ensure their tyres are best conserved for race day tomorrow.