Simon Pagenaud and Gil de Ferran took their third straight American Le Mans Series win at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday. The win came with a little help in the way of a punctured tire suffered by their Acura rivals.
David Brabham appeared to be on his way to a second straight Lime Rock victory with Patrón Highcroft Racing teammate Scott Sharp, but a flat left-rear tire with 13 minutes remaining ended those hopes. Brabham ducked quickly into the pits but could do nothing as Pagenaud crossed the finish line in his Acura ARX-02a 43.776 seconds ahead
De Ferran and Pagenaud haven’t lost since the St. Petersburg street race in early April. It is beginning to appear that the team at de Ferran Motorsports can do no wrong.
“We started in the middle of last year; not only do we have a steep learning curve in sports cars, but we started a team from scratch,” said team owner de Ferran. “We are just over a year old, and we really used these last two months to our advantage. I am quite happy about the evolution of the team. We had a little good fortune today. But it was good. We had a good race.”
It was a fantastic battle between the two Acuras. More often than not, things were nip-and-tuck between the two around the tight and twisty track and through the traffic. Patrón Highcroft seemed to be in ideal position to repeat last year’s maiden overall victory by taking fuel and left-side tires only during its last scheduled stop. The move allowed Brabham to get out of the pits before Pagenaud, who after pitting two laps earlier, came around.
“I honestly didn’t have the pace to come back on him,” Pagenaud said. ““I am going to remember this race forever. I think my heart rate was at maximum all race because of the traffic and the ending.”
In the MICHELIN Green X Challenge, the de Ferran Acura was the winner among the prototype entries for the third consecutive race. The competition awards teams and manufacturers who have the greatest overall performance with the smallest environmental impact.
American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.
Saturday’s Combined results:
1. (1) Gil de Ferran, Brazil; Simon Pagenaud, France; Acura ARX-02a (1, P1), 184.
2. (2) Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; David Brabham, Australia; Acura ARX-02a (2, P1), 184.
3. (6) Johnny Mowlem, England; Stefan Johansson, Sweden; Ginetta-Zytek 09HS (3, P1), 177.
4. (4) Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Lola B09 86 Mazda (1, P2), 172.
5. (10) Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Jörg Bergmeister, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (1, GT2), 167.
6. (8) Chris McMurry, Phoenix, AZ; Tony Burgess, Canada; Lola B06/10 AER (4, P1), 166.
7. (3) Luis Diaz, Mexico; Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Acura ARX-01B (2, P2), 166.
8. (9) Pierre Kaffer, Germany; Jaime Melo, Brazil; Ferrari F430 GT (2, GT2), 166.
9. (12) Bill Auberlen, Hermosa Beach, CA; Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; BMW E92 M3 (3, GT2), 166.
10. (11) Bryce Miller, Hoboken, NJ; Wolf Henzler, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (4, GT2), 165.
11. (15) Johannes Stuck, Austria; Richard Westbrook, England; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (5, GT2), 163.
12. (16) Ian James, England; Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Tom Sutherland, Los Gatos, CA; Panoz Esperante GTLM Ford (6, GT2), 163.
13. (18) Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (7, GT2), 159.
14. (17) Joel Feinberg, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Chris Hall, Daytona, FL; Dodge Viper Comp Coupe (8, GT2), 158.
15. (23) Adam Pecorari, Aston, PA; Gunnar Van der Steur, Chesapeake City, MD; Radical SR9 AER (3, P2), 157.
16. (14) David Murry, Cumming, GA; David Robertson, Ray, MI; Andrea Robertson, Ray, MI; Doran Ford GT MK 7 (9, GT2), 153.
17. (19) Wesley Hoagland, Tustin, CA; Bob Faieta, Tujunga, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (1, C), 149.
18. (21) Ed Brown, Las Vegas, NV; Bill Sweedler, Westport, CT; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (2, C), 146.
19. (22) Donald Pickering, Reno, NV; Nick Parker, Seattle, WA; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (3, C), 144.
20. (20) Melanie Snow, Pleasant Grove, UT; Martin Snow, Pleasant Grove, UT; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (4, C), 142.
21. (13) Tommy Milner, Leesburg, VA; Dirk Müller, Germany; BMW E92 M3 (10, GT2), 142.
22. (7) Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Chapman Ducote, Miami, FL; Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Lola B06/10 AER (5, P1), 139, Drivetrain.
23. (5) Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Lola B09 86 Mazda (4, P2), 63, Electrical.
24. (24) Guy Cosmo, Long Island, NY; John Baker, New York, NY; Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (5, C), 52, Mechanical.
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