Sebring: de Ferran Motorsports qualifying report

de Ferran Motorsports secures pole position in debut LMP1 appearance; Sensational final lap pole for Scott Dixon in the all-new no.66 XM Radio Acura ARX-02a SEBRING, FL, Thursday, March 19, 2009: Scott Dixon scored a superb pole position in...

de Ferran Motorsports secures pole position in debut LMP1 appearance; Sensational final lap pole for Scott Dixon in the all-new no.66 XM Radio Acura ARX-02a

SEBRING, FL, Thursday, March 19, 2009: Scott Dixon scored a superb pole position in the band new de Ferran Motorsports no.66 XM Radio Acura ARX-02a in preparation for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday (21st March). An ultra competitive qualifying session saw the 28-year old New Zealander steal the front spot on the grid with a time of 1.45.278, just under one tenth quicker than the Audi of Tom Kristensen and just under two tenths ahead of the Peugeot of Christian Klein. Reigning IndyCar Champion, Dixon, who will join team owner, Gil de Ferran and young French star, Simon Pagenaud in Saturday's race was delighted with the performance.

"There has been so much work to get here," said Dixon. "The car is brand new, we have had limited testing time and although we were hoping for a front row position I think we are all absolutely blown away with pole. I tried to push as hard as possible and unusually the more laps we completed, the more the car improved. This bodes very well for a twelve hour race!

"It has been a real battle for the guys and I have never seen this kind of team work before. They have all been burning the midnight oil getting this car ready for today and I am sure that Gil is delighted with his crew. It is refreshing to see such team work."

Indeed for team owner Gil de Ferran to score a pole in his first year in LMP1 with a brand new car is a spectacular achievement and his sentiments also go out to his young team. "I am overwhelmed," said the Brazilian. "There have been many long nights leading up to this moment and it is a great reward for everyone involved in the program. The team is not even a year old and the project is even younger. There has been a huge amount of work compressed into such a short development time, so for us to be sitting on pole for Saturday's race is absolutely magnificent for everyone in de Ferran Motorsports and Acura. I also want to thank Scott for doing a fantastic job and getting everything out of the car when it mattered."

For Acura today's performance represents the manufacturer's first outright pole position at this truly historic event in its first attempt. President of Honda Performance Development, Erik Berkman was delighted with the achievement. "It was very tough watching that from the pit wall," he enthused. "We had a little panic because we knew that Scott did not have enough fuel for another lap so he had to make the last one matter and he did! This is the perfect start to our campaign and a testament to a great deal of hard work!"

-credit: dfm

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Series ALMS