Takuma Sato has secured the first pole position of his IndyCar career, after lapping the Iowa Speedway quickest in qualifying for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 round. The result marked the first ever pole position for the Japanese driver in the history of the IndyCar championship series.
Sato’s Group Lotus-backed KV Racing outfit has looked solid on short-course ovals, and it proved true to form again with his team-mate Tony Kanaan qualifying third-fastest after holding provisional pole earlier in the session.
In a weekend of upset results, Danica Patrick qualified on the front row alongside Sato, marking the Andretti team – and Patrick’s – best result all season.
JR Hildebrand continued the surprise results by qualifying his Panther Racing entry in fourth place to relegate the championship-leading Penske and Ganassi entries off the first two rows of the starting grid.
Looking to the third row of the grid, and it’s joint championship leaders Will Power and Dario Franchitti who will start alongside one another. Power’s Penske team-mates Ryan Briscoe and Hélio Castroneves qualified tenth and thirteenth respectively, while Franchitti’s Ganassi team-mates Graham Rahal (20th), Charlie Kimball (21st) and Scott Dixon (23rd) all struggled in qualifying.
Simona de Silvestro was withdrawn from the event after an earlier medical examination confirmed she was still suffering from the after-effects from her practice accident at last weekend’s Milwaukee Grand Prix.
2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Qualifying Results:
|1.||Takuma Sato||KV Racing Technology Lotus||180.375mph|
|2.||Danica Patrick||Andretti Autosport||180.210mph|
|3.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology Lotus||179.833mph|
|4.||JR Hildebrand||Panther Racing||179.569mph|
|5.||Will Power||Team Penske||179.474mph|
|6.||Dario Franchitti||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||179.474mph|
|7.||James Hinchcliffe||Newman/Haas Racing||179.385mph|
|8.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||179.305mph|
|9.||Mike Conway||Andretti Autosport||179.185mph|
|10.||Ryan Briscoe||Team Penske||178.771mph|
|11.||Justin Wilson||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||178.742mph|
|12.||Oriol Servià||Newman/Haas Racing||178.631mph|
|13.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||178.570mph|
|14.||Ed Carpenter||Sarah Fisher Racing||178.510mph|
|15.||Alex Tagliani||Sam Schmidt Motorsports||178.426mph|
|16.||Vitor Meira||AJ Foyt Enterprises||178.365mph|
|17.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||178.165mph|
|18.||Ana Beatriz||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||177.821mph|
|19.||EJ Viso||KV Racing Technology Lotus||177.680mph|
|20.||Graham Rahal||Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing||177.509mph|
|21.||Charlie Kimball||Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi||177.280mph|
|22.||Alex Lloyd||Dale Coyne Racing||177.257mph|
|23.||Scott Dixon||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||175.784mph|
|24.||James Jakes||Dale Coyne Racing||173.365mph|
|25.||Sebastian Saavedra||Conquest Racing||no time|
|26.||Simona de Silvestro||HVM Racing||withdrew|
[Image via IZOD IndyCar Series]