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ALMS NEWS 

Dixon surprised by Sebring pole

Gil de Ferran, Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon celebrate Sebring poleScott Dixon said he never expected to put the De Ferran Motorsports Acura on pole at Sebring in the team's LMP1 debut.

The IndyCar champion beat pre-race favourites Audi and Peugeot to the top spot in a spectacular qualifying session yesterday, despite the LMP1 Acuras having a number of problems in winter testing.

When asked if he expected to be fighting for pole, Dixon replied "Honestly, not really."

"I did hope that we would be up there in the top three or four but we have had such a mixed time in testing this week that it was really hard to predict anything," he said.

"It's been a really crazy week and although I have been here four or five days I have only really completed about 18 laps. You don't really get much of a chance to 'read' the car.

"Earlier in the week the track seemed nicer to drive but as the week went on I was really finding a lot of understeer in Turns 15 and 16; you had to take it very easily around there you really can't throw the car around.

"I thought the Audis were handling the track better but I think the heat this afternoon helped us and the more laps we did the quicker the car. I am not used to that!"

He reckons Acura is making up time in Sebring's corners as the diesel prototypes still have a power advantage.

"It has more downforce than any car I have ever driven therefore momentum is a big deal," said Dixon. "We don't have the horsepower of the diesel-engined Peugeots and Audis on the straight so we have to make the downforce really work for us."

Dixon, who will share the car with team regulars Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud, remains cautious about Acura's race chances.

"Like any long distance race it is all down to reliability," he said. "We have had some issues in the early testing but things have smoothed out this week.

"The car gets quicker and quicker over the course of a stint which is good news, but this is a brand new car and reliability will be the key I'm sure. We have proved we are quick, now we have to be consistent."

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