Franchitti stunned by pole margin

Marino Franchitti admitted that he never expected to be 1.2s clear of the rest of the LMP2 field in Petit Le Mans qualifying, having given Dyson class pole position for the third straight race

Franchitti stunned by pole margin

The Scot had been confident that Dyson's Lola-Mazda would be competitive, but anticipated a much stronger challenge from rivals Fernandez Acura and Cytosport Porsche.

"I was expecting it to be closer," Franchitti told AUTOSPORT. "We are 1.2s ahead of the next car and I did not expect that at all. I hoped we could get pole but I thought be one or two tenths either way. So that was just amazing. It was one of those laps though, it was a blinder."

The result came despite Franchitti and team-mate Butch Leitzinger losing a large amount of testing and practice mileage to mechanical problems.

"We only ran one session on Wednesday, but from lap five of that first session on Wednesday, the car was quick out of the box having never been here before," he said. "We haven't touched it really. We've tried stuff but we ended up going back to where we began."

Dyson has yet to complete a race as long as today's 10-hour event - its cars having hit trouble on their debuts at Sebring - so Franchitti sees the event mainly as another development opportunity.

"It would just be great to get to the end in a strong position, whether we win or not is not as important as actually just making another step in the development of this car," he said.

But he is confident that with the strides Dyson has been making recently, the team will be able to fight for outright victories in the new combined prototype class next year.

"If we continue with it we expect to be battling for wins overall which will be fun," said Franchitti.

"The good thing is the programme has never stood still. We find something, we learn about it, fix it and move on.

"And that is just the process, but we are here doing it in public because we don't have the resources of a Porsche or an Audi. That's a hard thing to do but also very satisfying when we get it right."

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