Dixon gives Acura shock Sebring pole

De Ferran Motorsports' Scott Dixon put the new LMP1 Acura on a shock pole position for the Sebring 12 Hours, beating the diesel Audis and Peugeots

Dixon gives Acura shock Sebring pole

The IndyCar champion snatched the top spot on the ARX-02a's debut in the final minute of qualifying, usurping Audi's Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen by 0.082 seconds.

With three minutes remaining, that same 0.082s margin had covered the top four on the grid, as Audi's Mike Rockenfeller provisionally held first place ahead of Peugeot driver Sebastien Bourdais, Dixon and Kristensen.

Peugeot's Christian Klien had spun at Turn 2 on his first flying lap, but then briefly shot up to pole before Kristensen threw in a 1m45.360s lap seconds later.

That looked good enough for pole until Dixon's incredible last gasp effort on 11-lap-old tyres, with Kristensen abandoning his final run when he realised it would not beat the Acura.

"It was definitely nail-biting," said Dixon. "On the first run you always try to put a time down and they came back and matched that.

"We tried to push as much as we could and luckily this car seems to get quicker and quicker on its tyres."

Klien's #7 Peugeot stayed third ahead of Rockenfeller's No.1 Audi and the No.08 Peugeot, while David Brabham put the Highcroft Acura sixth on the grid.

Acura took a double pole as Adrian Fernandez led the way in LMP2, two seconds quicker than the still-developing Dyson Lola-Mazdas.

Porsche out-ran Ferrari in GT2 qualifying, with Farnbacher Loles' Dirk Werner heading Flying Lizard's Jorg Bergmeister by 0.382s. Advanced Engineering's Gianmaria Bruni was the best of the Ferrari drivers in third, just 0.054s behind Bergmeister, and 0.342s quicker than Risi's Mika Salo.

The underdog shock of the session came from the Robertson Racing Doran Ford, as veteran David Murry put the car fifth on the GT2 grid, a highly respectable 1.3s away from Werner's pole time.

Bill Auberlen was seventh in the best of the new Rahal Letterman BMWs, but the sister car developed technical problems before it could set a time.

Oliver Gavin beat Jan Magnussen to pole in the all-Corvette GT1 class, as the C6-R makes its final Sebring appearance.

Pos  Cl    Drivers                       Car                   Time
 1.  LMP1  De Ferran/Pagenaud/Dixon      Acura ARX-02a         1:45.278
 2.  LMP1  Capello/Kristensen/McNish     Audi R15 TDI          1:45.360
 3.  LMP1  Minassian/Lamy/Klien          Peugeot 908 HDi FAP   1:45.462
 4.  LMP1  Luhr/Rockenfeller/Werner      Audi R15 TDI          1:45.551
 5.  LMP1  Montagny/Sarrazin/Bourdais    Peugeot 908 HDi FAP   1:45.559
 6.  LMP1  Brabham/Sharp/Franchitti      Acura ARX-02a         1:46.504
 7.  LMP2  Fernandez/Diaz                Acura ARX-01B         1:49.686
 8.  LMP2  Dyson/Smith/Lally             Lola B09 86 Mazda     1:51.534
 9.  LMP1  McMurry/Willman/Burgess       Lola B06/10 AER       1:51.598
10.  LMP2  Leitzinger/Franchitti/Devlin  Lola B09 86 Mazda     1:51.840
11.  GT1   Gavin/Beretta/Fassler         Corvette C6.R         1:57.882
12.  GT1   O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia    Corvette C6.R         1:58.203
13.  GT2   Henzler/Werner/Lietz          Porsche 911 GT3 RSR   2:03.051
14.  GT2   Bergmeister/Long/Lieb         Porsche 911 GT3 RSR   2:03.433
15.  GT2   Companc/Russo/Bruni           Ferrari 430 GT        2:03.487
16.  GT2   Melo/Kaffer/Salo              Ferrari 430 GT        2:03.829
17.  GT2   Robertson/Robertson/Murry     Doran Ford GT MK 7    2:04.333
18.  GT2   Farnbacher/James              Panoz Esperante GTLM  2:04.437
19.  GT2   Hand/Auberlen                 BMW E92 M3            2:04.566
20.  GT2   Feinberg/Hall/Holt            Dodge Viper           2:05.619
21.  GT2   Drayson/Cocker/Bell           Aston Martin          2:05.692
22.  GT2   Pastorelli/Stuck/Stuck        Porsche 911 GT3 RSR   2:05.805
23.  GT2   Gigliotti/Curran/Molo         Chevrolet Riley       2:06.678
24.  GT2   Krohn/Jonsson/van de Poele    Ferrari 430 GT        2:08.386
25.  GT2   Law/Neiman/van Overbeek       Porsche 911 GT3 RSR   2:10.912
26.  GT2   Westbrook/Basseng/Arnold      Porsche 911 GT3 RSR   No time
27.  LMP1  Field/Field/Ducote            Lola B06/10 AER       No time
28.  GT2   Muller/Milner                 BMW E92 M3            No time

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