Dario Franchitti has claimed his second pole position of the 2011 IndyCar season with a dominant display during qualifying for the MoveThatBlock Indy 225 at New Hampshire.
The championship leader used his qualifying allotment – late in the one-hour session – to post a two-lap average speed over 170mph, a full 1mph faster than second-quickest driver Oriol Servià managed.
The Scot looks set to extend his championship points’ advantage over main rival Will Power, who could only qualify 13th-fastest, having unluckily drawn the allotment of being the first driver out on track to attempt to post a time.
Servià’s strong oval racing form continued on what was an excellent day for Newman/Haas, with his rookie team-mate James Hinchcliffe qualifying fourth-fastest. The Canadian rookie was denied he third-quickest time by Tony Kanaan, who set his time early in the session.
The third row of the grid is occupied by Ryan Hunter-Reay – undoubtedly the most consistent qualifier in the Andretti stable – and Ryan Briscoe, who was Penske’s best representative.
The top-ten was completed by Mid-Ohio race-winner Scott Dixon, KV Racing’s Takuma Sato, Hélio Castroneves in the third Penske and Chip Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball.
IndyCar returnee Tomas Scheckter qualified 18th-fastest, while Graham Rahal was the biggest loser in the session, losing crucial momentum for the start of his flying laps when he had a wild moment on his warm-up lap. His Ganassi entry stepped out at the back while he piloted through Turn 3, and the 22-year-old is now facing a busy race day as he tries to climb up the order from 23rd on the grid.
Pippa Mann failed to post a time, with her session being spent in hospital to investigate an injury to her left foot. She is unlikely to make the start of the race.
2011 MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 (New Hampshire) Qualifying Results:
|1.||Dario Franchitti||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||43.1976||170.843|
|2.||Oriol Servià||Newman/Haas Racing||43.4549||169.831|
|3.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology Lotus||43.4890||169.698|
|4.||James Hinchcliffe||Newman/Haas Racing||43.5168||169.590|
|5.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||43.5219||169.570|
|6.||Ryan Briscoe||Team Penske||43.5524||169.451|
|7.||Scott Dixon||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||43.6391||169.114|
|8.||Takuma Sato||KV Racing Technology Lotus||43.6573||169.004|
|9.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||43.6981||168.886|
|10.||Charlie Kimball||Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing||43.8155||168.434|
|11.||JR Hildebrand||Panther Racing||43.9164||168.047|
|12.||Mike Conway||Andretti Autosport||43.9672||167.852|
|13.||Will Power||Team Penske||44.1886||167.011|
|14.||Alex Lloyd||Dale Coyne Racing||44.2242||166.877|
|15.||Danica Patrick||Andretti Autosport||44.2356||166.834|
|16.||Alex Tagliani||Sam Schmidt Motorsports||44.2421||166.809|
|17.||EJ Viso||KV Racing Technology Lotus||44.3148||166.536|
|18.||Tomas Scheckter||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||44.3561||166.381|
|19.||Vitor Meira||AJ Foyt Enterprises||44.3901||166.253|
|20.||James Jakes||Dale Coyne Racing||44.6556||165.265|
|21.||Ana Beatriz||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||44.7387||164.958|
|22.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||44.8027||164.722|
|23.||Graham Rahal||Service Central Chip Ganassi||45.0505||163.816|
|24.||Sebastian Saavedra||Conquest Racing||45.4755||162.285|
|25.||Ed Carpenter||Sarah Fisher Racing||45.6304||161.734|
|26.||Simona de Silvestro||HVM Racing||46.8758||157.437|
|DNQ.||Pippa Mann||Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan||no time|
[Images via IZOD IndyCar Series]