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de Ferran on pole again at St Petersburg

Having beaten the diesels to a surprise pole position at Sebring, de Ferran Motorsport made it two from two in the American Le Mans Series by securing a second successive pole for the second round of the season at St Petersburg.

The #66 XM Radio Acura ARX-02a had been quickest during the two practice sessions around the tight street circuit, but qualifying saw a dominant display from Simon Pagenaud as he lapped just over a second quicker than Scott Sharp in the similar car entered by the Patron Highcroft Racing team.

It was a result which left the Frenchman understandably pleased although he admitted that the team couldn't rest on its laurels ahead of race day.

"It's very exciting to be starting from the pole,” he said. “The XM Radio Acura behaved really well. I had no problems after practice going into qualifying, so we just put new tires on and I just went for it, pushed hard and got a good time. We'll see tomorrow. St. Petersburg is one of the toughest courses I've experienced. It's a great street circuit, really fun to drive, but there is no margin for error. You have to push to the limit, but going into every corner - you must have everything right. It takes constant concentration. There is no time to rest.

"I was expecting with so much contact from the four large tyres that the car might handle differently on the street course in the corners, but the car is really well-balanced and is braking really well. Qualifying was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow and starting from the pole."



Team-mate, and team boss, Gil de Ferran was also pleased with pole position as his team looks to bounce back from a retirement at Sebring to put its first points of the year on the board.

"It's thrilling for de Ferran Motorsports to be starting from the pole for the second consecutive event,” he said. “Simon put down some really quick laps straight away and had three laps that were good enough for pole. As Simon stated, the car is handling very well and we're looking forward to a great race tomorrow.

“This event is very different from our last event, the 12 hours of Sebring. It's a shorter race overall, but as St Petersburg is a street course the corners are tighter and the walls are closer. Race strategy is going to play a key role in the final result. It should be very exciting."


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The de Ferran Motorsports Acura at Sebring
Audi`s Dindo Capello, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen win Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Audi leads into the night at Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Audi leads at start of Sebring 12 Hours   [image courtesy Audi Motorsport]
Brian Redman piloting the Chevron B16 of ALMS boss Bobby Rahal at Sebring [Pic credit: Legends of Motorsports]
The Highcroft Racing team celebrates second place at the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring just seven days after taking delivery of its new HPD ARX-01e   [pic credit: Highcroft Racing]
The Highcroft Racing team celebrates second place at the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring just seven days after taking delivery of its new HPD ARX-01e   [pic credit: Highcroft Racing]
The Highcroft Racing team celebrates Michelin Green-X Challenge victory at Sebring   [pic credit: Highcroft Racing]
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