Dario Franchitti secured his first pole of 2011

Dario Franchitti has secured his and the Ganassi team’s first IndyCar pole of the 2011 season after clocking the fastest average speed in qualifying for Sunday’s Milwaukee 225 at the Milwaukee Mile oval.

After being quickest in both of Saturday’s practice sessions, the Scot continued with that hot streak into qualifying, posting a two-lap average over 170mph – the only driver to nudge above 170mph in qualifying.

With Scot Dixon holding provisional pole, the Ganassi team had looked good for a front-row lockout, but Dixon’s time was usurped by Franchitti, and then also by Hélio Castroneves, who lifted the spirits in Team Penske after a tough day at the office.

While Castroneves was able to qualify well up the order, the team’s two Australian drivers, Ryan Briscoe and championship leader Will Power, could only muster eighth and seventeenth on the grid. Power was particularly frustrated after being unable to unlock the pace in his car.

KV Racing continued its sparkling form of late by getting all three of its drivers into the top-six on the grid, with Tony Kanaan (fourth) heading Takuma Sato and EJ Viso on the third row.

Two of the Andretti entries managed to get inside the top-ten, with Ryan Hunter-Reay lining up seventh and Marco Andretti taking ninth. Their team-mate Danica Patrick wasn’t far behind in fifteenth.

Oriol Servià rounded out the top-ten, just ahead of Ana Beatriz, who took her best-ever IndyCar qualifying result with eleventh on the grid.

But it was a bad session for Alex Tagliani – the mane who has enjoyed qualifying on pole at each of the two previous oval rounds this year – with the Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver languishing in 19th.

Simona de Silvestro was another driver to have a tough day, crashing out on a hot lap at Turn 4 before she rebounded onto the inside wall. The Swiss driver was carefully extricated from her HVM and taken to hospital for checks after she complained of stiffness. It is the second major accident for de Silvestro in just weeks, coming shortly after her heavy crash at Indianapolis in the lead-up to qualifying for the Indy 500.


2011 Milwaukee 225 Qualifying Results:

Driver Team Avg Speed
1. Dario Franchitti GBR Chip Ganassi 170.841mph
2. Hélio Castroneves BRZ Team Penske 169.999mph
3. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi 169.582mph
4. Tony Kanaan BRZ KV Racing Technology Lotus 169.365mph
5. Takuma Sato JPN KV Racing Technology Lotus 169.308mph
6. EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Lotus 169.082mph
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 169.014mph
8. Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske 168.598mph
9. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 168.456mph
10. Oriol Servià ESP Newman/Haas Racing 168.320mph
11. Ana Beatriz BRZ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 167.863mph
12. Graham Rahal USA Chip Ganassi 167.674mph
13. Justin Wilson GBR Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 167.621mph
14. Alex Lloyd GBR Dale Coyne Racing 167.162mph
15. Danica Patrick USA Andretti Autosport 166.779mph
16. James Hinchcliffe CDN Newman/Haas Racing 166.558mph
17. Will Power AUS Team Penske 166.248mph
18. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing 166.070mph
19. Alex Tagliani CDN Sam Schmidt Motorsports 166.031mph
20. Mike Conway GBR Andretti Autosport 166.003mph
21. Charlie Kimball USA Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi 165.592mph
22. Vitor Meira BRZ AJ Foyt Enterprises 165.375mph
23. James Jakes GBR Dale Coyne Racing 164.814mph
24. Sebastian Saavedra COL Conquest Racing 164.440mph
25. Ed Carpenter USA Sarah Fisher Racing 163.304mph
26. Simona de Silvestro SUI HVM Racing no time

[Image via IZOD IndyCar Series]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.