Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-01b Places Fifth in Grueling 56th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring
Lowe’s Fernandez Acura Is Excluded Following Post-Race Inspection
The trio of David Brabham, Scott Sharp and Stefan Johansson drove the No. 9 Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-01b to an overall fifth place finish Saturday in the 56th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. The Patron entry scored fourth in the LMP2 division.
The overall runner-up finish of the Lowe’s Fernandez Acura ARX-01b, with drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz, was excluded due to a part failure in post-race inspection. A seal in the engine air box failed following the team’s impressive initial performance with the new ARX-01b chassis.
The Patron Highcroft Racing Acura started 11th Saturday on the 17-turn, 3.7-mile famed airport circuit and consistently moved into the top five spots. Only a few small problems kept the Patron team from a podium finish.
The defending Sebring LMP2 winning team, No. 26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01b of Marco Andretti, Christian Fittipaldi and Bryan Herta, was a contender for the first six hours, with Andretti leading overall in the first two hours of competition. The 21-year-old Andretti, seeking to repeat his grandfather, Mario’s, Sebring success, recorded blistering lap times as he drove from 12th on the first lap to first by Lap 44.
Fittipaldi and Herta kept the AGR machine in the top four for the first half of the classic race before overheating problems dropped their mount to seventh by the eighth hour. Finally, the heating issue forced the XM Radio car to be parked after 293 laps. The AGR Acura was awarded 19th.
The LMP2 Penske Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Emmanuel Collard won the Sebring event Saturday to become only the third non-premiere class team to win the overall title. The other winners were the Porsche in 1983 and the Nissan 1994.
The next American Le Mans Series event takes place on the streets of St. Petersburg on April 5 in the second annual Acura Sports Car Challenge.
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