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de Silvestro leads Barber Saturday morning practice

Apr 6, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

Simona de Silvestro AP

Simona de Silvestro paced the final practice session before qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Saturday morning.

The KV Racing Technology driver led the 14 drivers that dipped into the 1:07 range in the early session. Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dario Franchitti completed the top five.

“I’m sure it (leading practice) does a lot (for my confidence),” she said. “I think the car is pretty good this morning, we have to see how the track is going to change for a little bit later, but the car has been pretty quick and the whole KV crew has been working really hard during the test here and when we got back.”

AJ Allmendinger in seventh led the three Team Penske cars, fresh off the news he’ll also be racing at Long Beach in two weeks (more to come on that later this afternoon). Will Power was only 10th with Helio Castroneves, fastest on Friday, in 12th. The top 24 cars were within 0.9088 of a second of de Silvestro.

Qualifying begins at 11:25 a.m. EST with TV coverage on at 5 p.m. EST on the NBC Sports Network.

Qualifying groups for the three rounds of knockout qualifying are below, via INDYCAR:

Group 1                Group 2
#98 Alex Tagliani    #3 Helio Castroneves
#77 Simon Pagenaud     #55 Tristan Vautier (R)
#9 Scott Dixon         #12 Will Power
#2 AJ Allmendinger     #5 E.J. Viso
#14 Takuma Sato        #16 James Jakes
#1 Ryan Hunter-Reay    #19 Justin Wilson
#10 Dario Franchitti   #22 Oriol Servia
#11 Tony Kanaan        #27 James Hinchcliffe
#83 Charlie Kimball    #78 Simona de Silvestro
#7 Sebastien Bourdais  #25 Marco Andretti
#15 Graham Rahal       #67 Josef Newgarden
#6 Sebastian Saavedra  #4 JR Hildebrand
#18 Ana Beatriz        #20 Ed Carpenter
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