Continuing his red-hot form from last weekend’s Grand Prix of Sonoma, Will Power has boosted his hopes of taking another chunk of points out of the lead enjoyed by his main rival Dario Franchitti with pole position at the inaugural Grand Prix of Baltimore.
It had been a chaotic start to the weekend, with the first practice session delayed by four hours due to the temporary street circuit having not been completed.
Power’s ‘Fast Six’ hot lap of 1:20.2447 was just enough to edge out surprise pole contender Graham Rahal, who showed his best qualifying form in a long time in the Ganassi to claim the outside front row spot.
Power’s Penske tam-mate Ryan Briscoe will start from third place, edging out defending IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti in the second Ganassi entry. Franchitti could breathe a big sigh of relief that he even made it as far in qualifying, after he spun on his final hot lap in the first phase of qualifying. No one managed to beat the Scot’s time, which allowed him to sneak into the second top-twelve phase.
Sébastien Bourdais’ great road course form continued on his return to the championship, with the Frenchman posting his best qualifying performance of the season to claim fifth, while Ryan Hunter-Reay gave some hope to the Andretti team’s inconsistent qualifying form by claiming sixth, two spot ahead of team-mate Mike Conway.
Having made it into the country after last weekend’s dramas with US immigration officials, Simona de Silvestro had her best qualifying performance of the year by making the second phase of qualifying; she will start from twelfth place in her HVM entry.
Some of the more fancied runners struggled in qualifying, with the Newman/Haas duo of Oriol Servià and James Hinchcliffe failing to make it past the first phase of qualifying. The more established Andretti pairing of Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick were again mired down the order, and they will start from 23rd and 25th respectively.
Takuma Sato was stripped of his two fastest times – which would have been good enough to place him in the top-twelve phase – after he had a spin and stalled at Turn 3.
2011 Indy Grand Prix of Baltimore Qualifying Results:
|1.||Will Power||Team Penske||1:20.2447||(Fast Six)|
|2.||Graham Rahal||Service Central Chip Ganassi||1:20.3238||(Fast Six)|
|3.||Ryan Briscoe||Team Penske||1:20.7023||(Fast Six)|
|4.||Dario Franchitti||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||1:20.7118||(Fast Six)|
|5.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||1:20.9725||(Fast Six)|
|6.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||1:21.0095||(Fast Six)|
|7.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||1:20.8503||(Fast Six)|
|8.||Mike Conway||Andretti Autosport||1:20.9078||(Round 2)|
|9.||EJ Viso||KV Racing Technology Lotus||1:20.9416||(Round 2)|
|10.||Scott Dixon||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||1:21.0617||(Round 2)|
|11.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology Lotus||1:21.3764||(Round 2)|
|12.||Simona de Silvestro||HVM Racing||1:21.7385||(Round 2)|
|13.||James Jakes||Dale Coyne Racing||1:21.6046||(Group 1)|
|14.||Vitor Meira||AJ Foyt Enterprises||1:21.9707||(Group 2)|
|15.||Giorgio Pantano||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||1:21.6857||(Group 1)|
|16.||Oriol Servià||Newman/Haas Racing||1:21.9856||(Group 2)|
|17.||James Hinchcliffe||Newman/Haas Racing||1:21.7882||(Group 1)|
|18.||Charlie Kimball||Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing||1:22.3963||(Group 2)|
|19.||JR Hildebrand||Panther Racing||1:22.0232||(Group 1)|
|20.||Martin Plowman||AFS / Sam Schmidt Motorsports||1:22.5638||(Group 2)|
|21.||Alex Tagliani||Sam Schmidt Motorsports||1:22.1596||(Group 1)|
|22.||Ana Beatriz||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||1:22.9070||(Group 2)|
|23.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||1:22.8926||(Group 1)|
|24.||Tomas Scheckter||Sam Schmidt / Dragon Racing||1:22.9769||(Group 2)|
|25.||Danica Patrick||Andretti Autosport||1:23.0159||(Group 1)|
|26.||Sebastian Saavedra||Conquest Racing||1:23.4736||(Group 2)|
|27.||Ed Carpenter||Sarah Fisher Racing||1:24.5361||(Group 1)|
|28.||Takuma Sato||KV Racing Technology Lotus||1:25.3139||(Group 2)|
[Images via IZOD IndyCar Series]