PAGENAUD POWERS TO AMERICAN LE MANS WIN AT LONG BEACH WITH VP100
LONG BEACH, CA (April 17, 2010) Two years ago, David Brabham made a pass on the second-to-last-lap to give Patrón Highcroft Racing a class victory at the historic Long Beach circuit. Saturday, he watched teammate Simon Pagenaud do the same thing – this time for an overall victory on the final lap– as the duo won the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.
Powered by VP's VP100 unleaded race fuel, Pagenaud came out best in a titanic duel with Aston Martin Racing’s Adrian Fernandez to win the second round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. The young Frenchman beat Fernandez across the line by 0.353 seconds.
“That pass was quite hairy. I could see Adrian was having some issues,” Pagenaud said. “He was driving differently for the last few laps. I figured if I played it smart and took second I could get as many points for finishing first (as the highest-finishing full-season entry). But I’m a racer and thought if I push him maybe I could get him to make a mistake and I waited for the opportunity.”
Pagenaud and Brabham won despite an early penalty for avoidable contact with Harold Primat the Lola-Aston Martin. Pagenaud had ceded the lead to Fernandez with six minutes but ran wide at Turn 5 on the final lap. That was all the opening Pagenaud needed for the team’s first overall victory at Long Beach and first win since Mosport last season.
“It’s nice to be on the other side and watch someone like Simon chase people down,” Brabham said. “This team always amazes me and they did a fantastic job with the pit stop. It was a fight for Simon all the way to the end and with Adrian’s mistake he capitalized on it.”
Pagenaud had led Fernandez by as much as eight seconds before the Mexican legend and race polesitter fought back to retake the lead. The V12 power gave the Lola-Aston Martin a decided advantage in the high-speed straights but the nimbleness of the Patrón Highcroft entry through traffic and the corners proved to be the difference.
“Long Beach is very special for me,” Pagenaud said. “As I said over the weekend, this is where I started racing in America in 2006. I’ve been successful here, and yesterday in qualifying you could see I love this track. The Patrón Highcroft car was just doing so well. This was our best win ever because it wasn’t just my win; we are a team. But certainly it is my favorite finish.”