Sebring Surprise: Acura Tops Audi & Peugeot for Pole Position

Can a gasoline engine best a diesel one in endurance racing? It can during qualifying, as Acura proved by claiming the pole for the 12 Hours of Sebring race, set to take place tomorrow.

Scott Dixon shocked pretty much everyone on Thursday by piloting the de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a to the pole with a time of just 1:45.27. Neither Audi or Peugeot (both favored to claim the pole over Acura) could post a better lap. Impressively this pole position is the first for Acura, during it’s first ever race in the top-level LMP1 class.

“I’ve watched this race for many years and it’s always been exciting so now it’s great that I get to race here,” Dixon said. “I’ve tested on the short track many times with IndyCar but never on the big track. So you can’t help but grin from ear to ear to be excited to drive here.”

“Overall it’s been a great week especially now having Acura on the overall pole,” Dixon said. “It was unexpected. We always shoot for the pole from the get-go. But realistically I thought we were only to be third or fourth. It was interesting when I heard I was going to qualify the car. I’m not sure why Gil picked me in the end, but I think all three of us could have done it.”

The battle for pole was a close one, however, with Tom Kristensen just 0.082 seconds behind in the new Audi R15. In fact, the fiels was so close that all top-five qualifiers were just 0.281 seconds apart.

The third fastest time was posted by Christian Klien in one of the Peugeot 908 HDi coupes.

In the LMP2 class, Acura also claimed the top spot with Adrian Fernandez in the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura ARX-01b posting a 1:49.686.

As for the remainder of the classes, Corvette clinched the GT1 pole with a Oliver Gavin behind the wheel in what will be the last Sebring race for the C6.R as it retires later this season.

The final class, GT2 saw a Porsche on the pole with Dirk Werner in the Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 RSR running a time 2:03.051.

Complete qualifying results after the jump:

  • 1. Gil de Ferran, Brazil; Simon Pagenaud, France; Scott Dixon, New Zealand; Acura ARX-02a (P1), 1:45.278, 126.522 2. Rinaldo Capello, Italy; Tom Kristensen, Denmark; Allan McNish, Scotland; Audi R15 TDI (P1), 1:45.360, 126.424 3. Nicolas Minassian, England; Pedro Lamy, Lisbon Portugal; Christian Klien, Austria; Peugeot 908 HDI FAP (P1), 1:45.462, 126.301 4. Lucas Luhr, Germany; Mike Rockenfeller, Germany; Marco Werner, Germany; Audi R15 TDI (P1), 1:45.551, 126.195 5. Stephane Sarrazin, France; Franck Montagny, Brignoles France; Sebastien Bourdais, France; Peugeot 908 HDI FAP (P1), 1:45.559, 126.185 6. David Brabham, Australia; Scott Sharp, Jupiter, FL; Dario Franchitti, Scotland; Acura ARX-02a (P1), 1:46.504, 125.066 7. Adrian Fernandez, Mexico; Luis Diaz, Mexico; Acura ARX-01B (P2), 1:49.686, 121.438 8. Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, NY; Guy Smith, England; Andy Lally, New York, NY; Lola B09 86 Mazda (P2), 1:51.534, 119.425 9. Jon Field, Dublin, OH; Clint Field, Dublin, OH; Chapman Ducote, Miami, FL; Lola B06/10 AER (P1), 1:52.323, 10. Bryan Willman, Kirkland, WA; Chris McMurry, Phoenix, AZ; Tony Burgess, Canada; Lola B06/10 AER (P1), 1:51.598, 119.357 11. Butch Leitzinger, State College, PA; Marino Franchitti, Scotland; Ben Devlin, England; Lola B09 86 Mazda (P2), 1:51.840, 119.099 12. Oliver Gavin, England; Olivier Beretta, Monaco; Marcel Fassler, Switzerland; Corvette C6-R (GT1), 1:57.882, 112.994 13. Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch, GA; Jan Magnussen, Denmark; Antonio Garcia, Spain; Corvette C6-R (GT1), 1:58.203, 112.687 14. Wolf Henzler, Germany; Dirk Werner, Germany; Richard Lietz, Austria; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:03.051, 108.248 15. Jörg Bergmeister, Germany; Patrick Long, Oak Park, CA; Marc Lieb, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:03.433, 107.913 16. Luis Companc, Argentina; Gianmaria Bruni, Italy; Mathias Russo, Argentina; Ferrari 430 GT (GT2), 2:03.487, 107.866 17. Mika Salo, Finland; Jaime Melo, Brazil; Pierre Kaffer, Germany; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 2:03.829, 107.568 18. Andrea Robertson, Ray, MI; David Robertson, Ray, MI; David Murry, Cumming, GA; Doran Ford GT MK 7 (GT2), 2:04.333, 107.132 19. Dirk Mueller, Germany; Tom Milner, Leesburg, VA; BMW E92 M3 (GT2), 2:03.514, 20. Dominik Farnbacher, Germany; Ian James, England; Panoz Esperante GTLM Ford (GT2), 2:04.437, 107.042 21. Joey Hand, Sacramento, CA; Bill Auberlen, Hermosa Beach, CA; BMW E92 M3 (GT2), 2:04.566, 106.931 22. Joel Feinberg, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Chris Hall, Daytona, FL; Ritchie Holt, Davie, FL; Dodge Viper Comp Coupe (GT2), 2:05.619, 106.035 23. Paul Drayson, London, UK; Jonny Cocker, UK; Robert Bell, UK; Aston Martin Vantage GT2 (GT2), 2:05.692, 105.973 24. Nicky Pastorelli, Netherlands; Hans Stuck, Germany; Hans Joachim Stuck, Austria; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:05.805, 105.878 25. Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, TX; Eric Curran, Easthampton, MA; Lucas Molo, Brazil; Chevrolet Riley Corvette C6 (GT2), 2:06.678, 105.148 26. Tracy Krohn, Houston, TX; Nic Jonsson, Sweden; Eric van de Poele, Belgium; Ferrari F430 GT (GT2), 2:08.386, 103.750 27. Darren Law, Phoenix, AZ; Seth Neiman, Burlingame, CA; Johannes van Overbeek, San Francisco, CA; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), 2:10.912, 101.748 28. Richard Westbrook, England; Marc Basseng, Germany; Lance David, Germany; Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GT2), No Time

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