Reigning IndyCar Series champion Will Power has claimed back-to-back pole positions and his fifth P1 qualifying result of the season ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Honda Indy Toronto.
The Team Penske driver crossed the line to complete a fastest lap of 59.4280 seconds on the 11-turn, 2.424-kilometre (1.755 mile) Exhibition Place street circuit with just 5 seconds remaining in the 10-minute ‘Firestone Fast Six’ shootout for pole.
In doing so, the Australian moved to fifth on the all-time pole-winners’ record list, surpassing Rick Mears’ tally of 40 career poles. Of the current drivers in the field, only his teammate Hélio Castroneves (43) has more to his name.
“Starting on the pole is great to keep out of any messes, and obviously IndyCar races are never straightforward so it’s just awesome to get the pole. It’s a long (race) day and we’ll see what we can do,” said Power, who has won twice at Toronto in 2007 and 2010.
“You’ve got to drive around here. It’s all man-handling because you’ve got those slippery surfaces in the middle of the corners, so you’ve got to be on the wheel a lot.”
Power could count himself rather fortunate to have got into the ‘Fast Six’ at all after grabbing the final berth from teammate Castroneves by just 0.001 seconds in the preceding segment reserved for the fastest twelve qualifiers. Castroneves – fastest in final practice – will start from seventh place.
In contrast to what have historically been qualifying sessions dominated by Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing this season, the ‘Fast Six’ session was made up of four different teams, even though the Penske stable represented 50% of the final session.
The reigning champions still swept to another 1-2-3 result, with Power’s teammates Simon Pagenaud and current points’ leader Juan Pablo Montoya finishing less than two-tenths of a second adrift.
For Pagenaud, the result marked his fourth front-row start of the season, and his second in a row – his challenge, he admitted, is converting his one-lap speed into a race win. The Frenchman sits a comparatively lowly eleventh in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
“Qualifying has not been an issue. We’ve been in the fast six every session since the beginning of the season but it’s executing in the end where things haven’t gone our way,” said the Frenchman, who has secured three top-five finishes in those the road/street circuit races held to-date in 2015.
“I think we had it but just made a little mistake when the tires were at their peak. But I’m happy with front row. I’m happy for Team Penske.”
IndyCar Series points leader Montoya and Scott Dixon, last weekend’s winner at Texas Motor Speedway, will share the second row of the grid. It’s the best start at Toronto for Montoya, who set the fastest lap of the weekend with 59.413 seconds in the second segment in his #2 Team Penske Chevrolet entry.
Sébastien Bourdais, who won Race 1 of the Toronto doubleheader last year from pole position, qualified fifth in his Chevrolet-powered Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing car. Luca Filippi claimed an impressive sixth in his #20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing entry.
It was another Chevrolet benefit in qualifying, with the top seven grid slots all claimed by the ‘Yellow Bowtie’. Takuma Sato was the fastest Honda-powered runner in his #14 AJ Foyt Enterprises entry ahead of the Chip Ganassi Racing and Rahal-Letterman Lanigan Racing entries of Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal, who hold ninth and 10th respectively.
Sunday’s 85-lap race gets underway at 3:37pm local time (GMT-4).
|2015 IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto – Qualifying Results|
|Grid||‘Fast Six’ Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Will Power||Team Penske||59.4280|
|2.||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||59.6095||+ 0.1815|
|3.||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske||59.6242||+ 0.1962|
|4.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||59.8879||+ 0.4599|
|5.||Sébastien Bourdais||KV Racing Technology||59.9012||+ 0.4732|
|6.||Luca Filippi||CFH Racing||1:00.2312||+ 0.8032|
|Grid||‘Top 12’ Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|7.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||59.8940||+ 0.4803|
|8.||Takuma Sato||A.J. Foyt Racing||59.9500||+ 0.5363|
|9.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:00.0901||+ 0.6474|
|10.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||1:00.1241||+ 0.7104|
|11.||Josef Newgarden||CFH Racing||1:00.1323||+ 0.7186|
|12.||James Jakes||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1:00.4576||+ 1.0439|
|Grid||‘Group 1’ Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap***|
|13.||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti Autosport||1:00.6849||+ 1.0669|
|15.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:00.8553||+ 1.2373|
|17.||Sebastián Saavedra||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:00.9926||+ 1.3746|
|19.||Conor Daly||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1:01.2543||+ 1.6363|
|21.||Tristan Vautier||Dale Coyne Racing||1:01.5065||+ 1.8885|
|Grid||‘Group 2’ Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap**|
|14.||Jack Hawksworth||A.J. Foyt Racing||1:01.4569||+ 0.9342|
|16.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||1:01.5959||+ 1.0732|
|18.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||1:01.9907||+ 1.4680|
|20.||Stefano Coletti||KV Racing Technology||1:02.4000||+ 1.8773|
|22.||Gabby Chaves||Bryan Herta Autosport||1:02.4016||+ 1.8789|
|23.||Rodolfo González||Dale Coyne Racing||1:05.0167||+ 4.4940|
* Denotes gap to fastest ‘Top 12’ qualifying session time of 59.4137 posted by Juan Pablo Montoya. Fastest six qualifiers progress to the ‘Fast Six’ shootout for pole position.
** Denotes gap to fastest ‘Group 2’ qualifying session time of 1:00.5227 posted by Tony Kanaan. Fastest six qualifiers progress to ‘Top 12’ stage, with the remaining drivers occupying the odd-numbered grid positions 14, 16, 18, etc.
*** Denotes gap to fastest ‘Group 1’ qualifying session time of 59.6180 posted by Simon Pagenaud. Fastest six qualifiers progress to ‘Top 12’ stage, with the remaining drivers occupying the even-numbered grid positions 13, 15, 17, etc.
Image via Motorsport.com
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