THIRD PODIUM OF THE SEASON AT LAGUNA SECA
The duo formed by Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud took second place of the LMP2 class at the Monterey Sports Car Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and fourth overall.
The race got underway with Gil de Ferran behind the wheel of the Panasonic-sponsored Acura ARX-01b. And right from the start, the owner/driver gave everyone a taste of things to come as he jumped up to second place overall heading into the first turn with an outside pass on the two cars ahead of him.
It was only 18 laps later, during the first of many restarts, that de Ferran made his move to take over first place. However, following another caution period, the Brazilian lost the top position only to regain it one last time before pitting on lap 52.
After what would be the first of only two pit stops for the team, Simon Pagenaud took his turn aboard the #66 Acura machine. The Frenchman was eighth overall upon exiting the pits, but he quickly made his way forward, running as high as second at one point.
Following the team’s final stop, Pagenaud was fifth overall with about one hour to go in the four-hour event. The rookie then made his way to fourth on the lap 107 restart, which placed him second in class.
The action didn’t end there as Pagenaud battled hard, wheel-to-wheel at times, with the first place LMP2 car ahead of him until the final seconds of the race but to no avail. The second place finish was the first year ALMS team’s third podium of the season.
GIL DE FERRAN“Our car was handling fantastically well and the tire choice we made was great. The Michelins were holding up very well so I was very quick on cold tires and I was able to take advantage of that early in the race, on the start and on a couple of restarts.
“Although we didn’t win this one, we came as close as one could to winning. I have to say that I consider this a great result and a great way for us to finish our first season in racing. We had the best car out there.
“There were many close calls right at the end with some exciting racing. I had a good time in my stint and I think Simon did a fantastic job in the last two stints of the race and so did the team.
“Finally I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has worked crazy hours to make this project a reality and to thank Acura for their confidence and support for this year.”
SIMON PAGENAUD“I think we had the quickest car on the racetrack. The guys did a great job. I had lots of fun.
“For me its an unbelievable feeling, I was fighting against Tony Kanaan. I use to watch him race with Gil. It’s amazing. We passed each other a couple of times and banged wheels, but it was always really clean. I never had so much fun in a race.
"The Acuras were very strong. The traffic played against us a bit but overall when you look at it, it was a fantastic race. I don’t think I took a breathe for three hours. It was flat out all the time just like a Formula 3 race. The car behaved really well the whole race. It was just one of those races, where everything was perfect.
“It’s really good for the guys to end the season like this. They’ve been doing an awesome job all season. I also want to dedicate this race to Keith Jones. He has been through a lot this year and he very much deserves that we dedicate this podium to him.”
Pos. Car # Class Drivers Car Result 1 2 LMP1 Luhr/Werner Audi R10 145 laps 2 1 LMP1 Albers/Pirro Audi R10 - 1.941 sec 3 26 LMP2 Montagny/Kanaan Acura ARX-01B - 3.536 sec 4 66 LMP2 de Ferran/Pagenaud Acura ARX-01B - 3.590 sec 5 7 LMP2 Dumas/Bernhard Porsche RS Spyder - 9.481 sec 6 5 LMP2 Briscoe/Castroneves Porsche RS Spyder - 26.178 sec 7 16 LMP2 Dyson/Smith Porsche RS Spyder - 45.278 sec 8 20 LMP2 Franchitti/Leitzinger Porsche RS Spyder - 78.045 sec 9 15 LMP2 Fernandez/Diaz Acura ARX-01B - 1 lap 10 6 LMP2 Long/Maassen Porsche RS Spyder - 1 lap
TELEVISION:Sunday, 19 October - Tape DelayedUSA: NBC, 11:00am (EDT)
Monday, 20 October - Tape DelayedEUROPE: Motors TV, 9:30pm - 11:30pm (CET)UK: Motors TV, 9.30pm - 11.30pm (BST)