Sunday
Apr222007

TEAM NEWS: HIGHCROFT RACING FINISHES FIRST FOUR RACES WITH STRONG RECORD

Photo by John Thawley TEAM TAKES FIFTH PLACE OVERALL AT HOUSTON GRAND PRIX FOURTH IN LMP2 CLASS

Highcroft finishes off the first third of the 2007 season with a strong record of top five overall finishes and top four class finishes.

Leading the field in a single file start, David Brabham was passed at the start by the higher horse power Audi and drove the first stint of the race steadily in third position. When he pitted, he was running second, ahead of the Audi. "We got off to a strong start, but Alan must have turned up the boost on his Audi because he shot ahead of me. In the first lap the car was sliding a bit and I was trying to get grip. We were running a comfortable third, doing steady laps with the tires performing with great consistency. When we came into pit, a fuel pressure switch got turned off, delaying our restarting time."

Down a lap because of the extended pit stop, Stefan Johansson started his stint in sixth position but quickly pulled up to fifth to run ahead of the Lowe's Acura-powered Lola and behind Andretti Green's Acura ARX-01a. With the first full course yellow coming two hours and three minutes into the race, Johansson pitted for refueling.

Despite strong, steady times by both drivers, team owner Duncan Dayton pointed out that "a couple of minor glitches bit us and put us a lap down. We had a long pit stop due both to the fuel pump switch and the refueling taking a lot longer than we anticipated. There may be a leak between the breather and the fuel filler, which we'll address back in the shop."

Because the car has performed far beyond initial expectations, the bar is raised higher with each race. Understandably disappointed, despite the strong results so far, Johansson noted that "of course we were hoping for more, being on pole. Unfortunately, the mishap in the pit just caught us out today when everyone was running so competitively. But we know we have the pace and the performance to win later in the season."

Brabham concurred, adding "the car is as competitive as anything else out there but if you lose a lap, you're out of the running. It was frustrating because both Stefan and I were running our laps as fast as anyone else, so we missed out on an opportunity to fight for the win. Overall, the Acuras are running strongly and consistently - all three cars have had a phenomenal start to the season. We've got to take a lot of good out of these first four races. Now it's time to regroup, catch our breath and come back stronger."

Dayton summed it up neatly at the race's end "All in all, to come out of the first third of the season with four top 5 finishes, four top 4 class finishes and a pole, is pretty damned good compared to where we thought we'd be."

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