Patrón Highcroft Acura wins LMP2 class It was a sweet victory for Patrón Highcroft Racing tonight on the winding streets of the southern California shoreline. David Brabham and Scott Sharp drove the #9 Acura ARX-01b flat out for the 1-hour, 40-minute challenge, and brought the team its first victory. First in the LMP2 class, the team took third place overall.
Brabham, who got in the #9 car with 45 minutes left in the challenge, fought his way through the ranks steadily throughout his stint. With 20 minutes left, he passed Christian Fittipaldi in the #26 Andretti Green Acura and Adrian Fernandez in the #15 Lowe's Fernandez Acura, improving to fifth position.
With less than five minutes to go, Brabs was in a fierce battle with Romain Dumas in the #7 Penske Porsche for the LMP2 class win. Coming down the back straight in the final minute of the race, David saw an opening, took it, and passed Dumas, clinching the win. On his way to the podium to celebrate, Brabs said, "Dumas and I went down the back straight and he moved to one side, moving straight in front of me. I was just waiting for the right opportunity. I knew I was quicker, so when I saw my chance, I just went for it. He tried to protect his line, but I went to the inside. It was just good racing and the Acura engine performed beautifully. For the whole team to win for Duncan and Patrón is just fantastic. We came back from fifth or sixth to win. The team gave me a great car. I could see we were stronger than the Penske Porsches. I have to give huge credit to the team. To go up against the Penske Porsches with their having been so dominant is just fantastic. To cross the finish line first is a win on so many levels for the whole team, which put in a lot of work over the winter. It is paying off in spades this season. All in all, there is a huge difference when you win - you go to the next race knowing you can win, instead of just hoping."
Scott Sharp started the race and said, "I had a good run. With the track temperature as cold as it was this morning, we didn't learn much in practice. So, when I first got out there for the race, I was finding my braking points and apexes. But I got into a great rhythm pretty quickly, moved up steadily and had good lap times. I felt really comfortable out there in the Acura. The team did a great job with the car. As far as traffic on a street circuit like this, when you're behind someone, your lap is ruined. If you get stuck behind a slower car, you just hang on until you can break through."
Team owner Duncan Dayton was ecstatic about tonight's win. As he walked to Winner's Circle, he said, "It was just unreal tonight. The team ran a great race all the way through. It was fantastic the way it all unfolded - Scott did a great job in the first half to keep up a great pace. Going into tonight's race, he only had about eight laps on the circuit. We pitted during yellow and Penske Racing had pitted during green, so we thought we were going put a lap on the Penskes, but the Pace Car was a little slow, so we didn't get the lap we thought we were going to get. Then, we put David in the car and he put the hammer down. To beat Roger Penske straight up in a dogfight is just an extraordinary feeling. It was a really great effort by everyone on the team. And to do it for both Patrón, the race's title sponsor, and for Acura, in its backyard, at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, makes it all the more thrilling."
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