De Ferran takes pole for farewell race
|By Matt Beer||Friday, October 9th 2009, 23:02 GMT|
Gil de Ferran marked his final qualifying session as a professional racing driver by taking pole position for the American Le Mans Series finale at Laguna Seca.
The Brazilian is set to retire from competition for the second time at the end of this weekend's event. He starting his farewell meeting in stye by holding off a huge challenge from Highcroft Acura's David Brabham to secure pole by 0.092 seconds.
De Ferran and team-mate Simon Pagenaud still have a chance of beating Brabham and Scott Sharp to the LMP1 championship, provided the De Ferran car wins and Highcroft retires.
Brabham edged ever closer to de Ferran near the end of the session, and as he came out again for an extra run to defend his pole, de Ferran damaged the underside of his car with a rough trip over a kerb and off the course. But despite his best efforts, Brabham could not quite beat the De Ferran car's 1m11.206s benchmark and had to settle for second.
In what could be the team's last ever race weekend, Luis Diaz put the LMP2 Fernandez Acura in the thick of the overall pole fight. The Mexican held provisional pole at first, and even when the LMP1 Acuras moved ahead, they only beat Diaz's time by 0.104s.
The #16 Dyson Lola-Mazda sat out qualifying again as the team continues to use it to evaluate bio-butanol fuel, but the sister #20 car joined Fernandez on row two.
In GT2, Jan Magnussen emerged with pole for Corvette after an intense battle with Risi Ferrari driver Pierre Kaffer. The German and co-driver Jaime Melo need a class victory to beat Flying Lizard Porsche's Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long to the GT2 title - but even if they win they require their rivals to finish outside the top ten.
Bergmeister put the points leading car fifth in class in qualifying, behind the second Corvette and the Farnbacher Loles Porsche.
Pos Drivers Cl Car Time 1. De Ferran/Pagenaud P1 Acura 1m11.206s 2. Brabham/Sharp P1 Acura 1m11.298s 3. Fernandez/Diaz P2 Acura 1m11.310s 4. Leitzinger/Franchitti P2 Lola-Mazda 1m12.051s 5. Drayson/Cocker P1 Lola 1m12.745s 6. Mowlem/Johansson P1 Ginetta-Zytek 1m13.238s 7. Pickett/Graf P2 Porsche 1m14.492s 8. Field/Field P1 Lola 1m14.661s 9. Burgess/McMurry/Willman P1 Lola 1m15.861s 10. Magnussen/O'Connell GT2 Corvette 1m23.053s 11. Melo/Kaffer GT2 Ferrari 1m23.220s 12. Beretta/Gavin GT2 Corvette 1m23.283s 13. Henzler/Ehret GT2 Porsche 1m23.347s 14. Bergmeister/Long GT2 Porsche 1m23.391s 15. Hand/Auberlen GT2 BMW 1m23.552s 16. Farnbacher/James GT2 Panoz 1m23.640s 17. Muller/Milner GT2 BMW 1m23.745s 18. Sutherland/Drissi/Gigliotti GT2 Riley Corvette 1m23.991s 19. Murry/Robertson/Robertson GT2 Doran Ford 1m23.993s 20. Westbrook/Stuck/Arnold GT2 Porsche 1m24.307s 21. Sellers/Cicero GT2 Porsche 1m25.455s 22. Neiman/van Overbeek GT2 Porsche 1m28.798s 23. Baker/Cosmo Ch Porsche 1m29.546s 24. Curtis/Sofronas Ch Porsche 1m29.755s 25. Rodriguez/Bieker Ch Porsche 1m29.844s 26. Hoaglund/Faieta Ch Porsche 1m29.887s 27. Lewis/Pagerey Ch Porsche 1m29.916s 28. Snow/Snow Ch Porsche 1m30.147s 29. Brown/Sweedler Ch Porsche 1m30.481s 30. Parker/Pickering Ch Porsche 1m31.509s