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