Takuma Sato has claimed his second pole position of the 2011 season – and his first-ever road course pole position – after qualifying quickest in the final ‘Fast Six’ phase of qualifying for the Honda Indy Edmonton round.
The Japanese driver became the first driver other than Will Power to claim a non-oval pole position this year, holding out the Australian by the scarcest of margins: just five-hundredths of a second.
With the round taking place on a new layout using the city’s airport runways, the second row of the starting line-up comprises the leading Ganassi drivers, with Scott Dixon lining up ahead of series leader Dario Franchitti.
The third row is made up of EJ Viso – backing up KV Racing’s sudden burst of road course speed – and the second Penske of Ryan Briscoe.
The fourth row is made of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Oriol Servià, who ended the second qualifying phase with a row as each accused the other of ruining their efforts at posting a quick lap time.
Hélio Castroneves failed to make the ‘Fast Six’ round and he will start from ninth place, one spot ahead of rookie driver James Hinchcliffe, who qualified as the fastest Canadian driver.
The two slowest Round 2 qualifiers were Tony Kanaan and Sébastien Bourdais.
The surprise results from two of the KV Racing entries meant that a few of the bigger names were eliminated in the first phase of qualifying, with Graham Rahal and Alex Tagliani being two who just failed to progress to the next stage, along with Justin Wilson.
Hunter-Reay’s top-ten result aside, the Andretti team’s inconsistent qualifying form was on display once again, with Marco Andretti, Mike Conway and Danica Patrick well down the order.
Despite her top-ten qualifying heroics here last year, Simona de Silvestro could do no better than 16th-fastest on the twistier layout, and the less said about local driver Paul Tracy’s qualifying effort, the better.
The veteran was well off the pace and slowest of the ‘Group 1’ runners; he will start from the back row in his Dragon Racing entry.
2011 Honda Indy Edmonton Qualifying Results:
|1.||Takuma Sato||KV Racing Technology Lotus||1:18.5165||(Fast Six)|
|2.||Will Power||Team Penske||1:18.5674||(Fast Six)|
|3.||Scott Dixon||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||1:18.6442||(Fast Six)|
|4.||Dario Franchitti||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||1:18.6628||(Fast Six)|
|5.||EJ Viso||KV Racing Technology Lotus||1:18.7383||(Fast Six)|
|6.||Ryan Briscoe||Team Penske||1:19.0267||(Fast Six)|
|7.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||1:18.6678||(Round 2)|
|8.||Oriol Servià||Newman/Haas Racing||1:18.7142||(Round 2)|
|9.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||1:18.7669||(Round 2)|
|10.||James Hinchcliffe||Newman/Haas Racing||1:18.9323||(Round 2)|
|11.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology Lotus||1:19.0190||(Round 2)|
|12.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||1:19.3802||(Round 2)|
|13.||Graham Rahal||Service Central Chip Ganassi||1:19.0682||(Group 1)|
|14.||Vitor Meira||AJ Foyt Enterprises||1:18.9781||(Group 2)|
|15.||Justin Wilson||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||1:19.0732||(Group 1)|
|16.||Simona de Silvestro||HVM Racing||1:19.2084||(Group 2)|
|17.||Alex Tagliani||Sam Schmidt Motorsports||1:19.1329||(Group 1)|
|18.||James Jakes||Dale Coyne Racing||1:19.3533||(Group 2)|
|19.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||1:19.6204||(Group 1)|
|20.||Mike Conway||Andretti Autosport||1:19.4007||(Group 2)|
|21.||Charlie Kimball||Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing||1:20.0348||(Group 1)|
|22.||Danica Patrick||Andretti Autosport||1:19.4713||(Group 2)|
|23.||Ana Beatriz||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||1:20.3224||(Group 1)|
|24.||JR Hildebrand||Panther Racing||1:19.5237||(Group 2)|
|25.||Paul Tracy||Dragon Racing||1:20.4836||(Group 1)|
|26.||Sebastian Saavedra||Conquest Racing||1:19.7200||(Group 2)|