Acura, Flying Lizard Porsche Extend Win Streaks
De Ferran Acura Dominates, Corvettes Go 2-4 in GT2 Debut
LEXINGTON, OHIO -- Gil de Ferran led an emotional Acura festival here at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid -Ohio, the sixth event of the 2009 American Le Mans Series season.
De Ferran who announced his plans to retire from driving at the end of the current season following his drive to the pole position the previous day combined with co-driver Simon Pagenaud to lead every lap in a dominant performance to
score his first victory at Mid-Ohio aboard his MICHELIN® fitted de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a in his final drive at the track. The win was the fourth consecutive win for the de Ferran team and fifth in six races for the radical wide-tire designed Acura prototypes.
“We did not take tires on the last pit stop. We knew that our set-up was easy on tires and Michelin was giving us very good information and that once again paid off,” said de Ferran, who chose to double-stint his Michelin tires for the final 66 laps of the race to maintain track position over arch-rival David Brabham of Patrón Highcroft Racing. “The longevity of our Michelin tires is a great advantage. Even though the Highcroft guys put on a fresh set of tires on the last pit stop, I could still pull away from David with my old tires.”
Rebounding from their only LMP2 class loss of the season to complete an Acura 1-2-3, Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz relied on their veteran Lowe’s Fernandez Acura team for the race strategy and a blindingly fast final pit stop to recover the class lead and take their fifth victory of the season. Finishing second in LMP2 and making an impressive ALMS debut was the Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder of Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf. “We are honored to have technical partners like Porsche and Michelin.” said Team Cytosport leader and former Trans Am champion Greg Pickett.
Streaking to a fifth consecutive 2009 ALMS victory was the Flying Lizard Porsche driven by Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. “I need to salute Michelin,” said Bergmeister. “Not only were the tires very fast and consistent, but I had contact with a slower car mid-way through my stint. It was a hard hit and cracked the left rear wheel but the Michelin tire was so strong that it held up for the entire stint. I did not even realize that the wheel was cracked until after the pit stop.”
Based upon the Corvette ZR 1 supercar, the MICHELIN fitted new Corvette GT2 entries finished second and fourth respectively. And drew praise from competitor and raves from fans.
“Michelin and our technical partner teams faced a number of challenges here at Mid-Ohio this weekend,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin Motorsports manager.
“Parts of the track were treated with a sealer last fall and drivers reported the track much slicker and less predictable than in the past. We had a rain shower just prior to the race warm-up, and the race began in overcast conditions with a light mist and track temperatures nearly 20 degrees (F) cooler than in qualifying. As a result, all of our race tire engineers and teams were making a lot of judgments based upon experience. We are very pleased that all of our technical partners performed so well, and for the exciting GT2 debut for Corvette Racing and the Muscle Milk Porsche RS Spyder.”
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com) employs more than 22,600 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.
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