Will Power has claimed pole position for the opening IndyCar Series race at St Petersburg

Chevrolet drew first blood in the manufacturers’ battle for the 2012 season, and by claiming the Top 5 grid positions for tomorrow’s season opening Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg, may as well have metaphorically chopped off the head of its rivals Honda and Lotus as well.

The Penske and Andretti teams make up the first two rows of the grid in the form of Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay, but the surprise of the session was the Chip Ganassi team’s failure to even make it to the final ‘Fast 6’ qualifying session.

Scott Dixon will start from seventh but will be promoted to sixth, while reigning series champion Dario Franchitti qualified tenth and will be promoted to ninth. This follows Simon Pagenaud receiving a ten-place grid penalty for an engine change yesterday.

Lotus are at least a second off the pace but are performing reliably so far, which will be encouraging for the engine-maker who were very late in their engine development compared to their rivals.

The new high-profile signing Rubens Barrichello qualified fourteenth, however was the fastest of the Group 2 qualifiers and will take positivity from it as he makes his debut in the series.

But it was Power who broke his own lap record to take his third consecutive pole at the circuit ahead of tomorrow’s race.

2012 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St Petersburg Qualifying Results:

  Driver Entrant   Result  
1. Will Power AUS Team Penske Chevrolet 1:01.3721 ‘Fast Six’
2. Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske Chevrolet 1:01.5357 ‘Fast Six’
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 1:01.9321 ‘Fast Six’
4. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 1:01.9701 ‘Fast Six’
5. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske Chevrolet 1:01.9987 ‘Fast Six’
6. Simon Pagenaud* FRA Schmidt Hamilton Honda 1:02.1095 ‘Fast Six’
7. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:01.7636 Top-12
8. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 1:01.7895 Top-12
9. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:01.8699 Top-12
10. Dario Franchitti GBR Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:01.9570 Top-12
11. Graham Rahal USA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:02.0233 Top-12
12. Mike Conway GBR AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda 1:02.5084 Top-12
13. EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:02.5146 Group 1
14. Rubens Barrichello BRA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:02.2009 Group 2
15. Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:02.6015 Group 1
16. Justin Wilson GBR Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:02.2538 Group 2
17. Alex Tagliani CAN Lotus-BHA Lotus 1:02.6506 Group 1
18. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing Chevrolet 1:02.4426 Group 2
19. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda 1:02.7155 Group 1
20. James Jakes GBR Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:02.5271 Group 2
21. Simona de Silvestro SUI Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus 1:02.8218 Group 1
22. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:03.0437 Group 2
23. Oriol Servià ESP Dreyer & Reinbold Lotus 1:02.8771 Group 1
24. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 1:03.3591 Group 2
25. Katherine Legge GBR Lotus-Dragon Racing Lotus 1:03.6048 Group 1
26. Sébastien Bourdais FRA Lotus-Dragon Racing Lotus 1:05.6858 Group 2

* Driver will incur a ten place grid penalty due to an engine change.

Matthew Lennon
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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.