Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud faced a day of heartbreak at Mosport today after clever strategy by the de Ferran Motorsports squad took the #66 Acura within ten minutes of an outright victory and 1/2 a lap of a P2 win in the American Le Mans Series.
Pagenaud started the race and handed over to de Ferran an hour into the event. With one hour and 25 minutes remaining, the safety car hit the track after an accident by the #30 P1 Lola. During a long 26 minute safety car period, de Ferran made two stops, the first for fuel and then a second stop to top up on fuel and fit new tires for the run to the flag.
The race went green with 59 minutes remaining and the Panasonic-sponsored Acura ARX-01b took the overall lead with 39 minutes to go as more rivals began to pit for fuel. de Ferran held the outright lead until 10 minutes to go but still enjoyed a handy advantage at the head of the P2 pack. With de Ferran in fuel-saving mode in the run to the flag, the winning Audi crossed the start-finish line with one second to spare, forcing the race into one more lap than than de Ferran Motorsports crew had calculated for the two hour, 45 minute event.
Tragically, the #66 Acura ran out of fuel on that extra lap while headed for the team's first P2 class victory. Despite the late race disappointment, de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud were still credited with a seventh place outright finish and fifth in the P2 class.
de Ferran motorsports will head back to the US next weekend to the "Motor City" for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
GIL DE FERRAN"The Audi crossed the line one second before the end of the race and we had to do one more than lap than we expected - the guys had calculated it perfectly but it wasn't to be. It was a great race and the de Ferran Motorsports crew did a brilliant job, everything was judged perfectly right up until our final stop and just one single second cost us the race."That is the way it goes, we had a difficult time during practice and qualifying but the car in the race was fantastic. Our engineers and the Acura engineers must be congratulated on the improvements they made overnight."It was handling beautifully and even in fuel save mode, I was able to turn really strong lap times."
SIMON PAGENAUD"Despite the end result, I'm really happy because even though we had been going through a tough weekend, we still put ourselves in a position to win."The guys did a great job and gave us an excellent car for the race. We made all the right calls at the right time but it was just unfortunate that the Audi crossed the line one second too early."I said yesterday that we needed to be clever on strategy today and that's exactly what we did, we just needed to have a little bit of luck on our side."
Pos. Car # Class Drivers Car Result 1 2 LMP1 Luhr/Werner Audi R10 127 laps 2 2 LMP1 Pirro/Capello Audi R10 - 21.392 secs 3 9 LMP2 Brabham/Sharp Acura ARX-01B - 22.156 secs 4 15 LMP2 Fernandez/Diaz Acura ARX-01B - 31.233 secs 5 6 LMP2 Long/Maassen Porsche RS Spyder - 44.132 secs 6 26 LMP2 Montagny/Rossiter Acura ARX-01B - 52.635 secs 7 66 LMP2 de Ferran/Pagenaud Acura ARX-01B - 1 lap 8 7 LMP2 Dumas/Bernhard Porsche RS Spyder - 1 lap 9 16 LMP2 Smith/Dyson Porsche RS Spyder - 2 laps 10 20 LMP2 Franchitti/Leitzinger Porsche RS Spyder - 2 laps