Helio Castroneves celebrates pole position at the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Fresh from victory six days earlier in St Petersburg, Hélio Castroneves has kept up the charge by taking pole position for tomorrow’s Round 2 event at Barber Motorsports Park.

Saturday’s on-track action was weather-affected, with the morning practice session cancelled due to heavy fog in the heart of Dixie. Associated rains which affected Friday’s practice also managed to wash the rubber off the circuit, meaning all running on Saturday would be like starting from scratch in terms of finding racing lines with pre-laid grip.

Six different teams occupy the top six grid positions, with several of those making their best career starts – namely James Hinchcliffe alongside Hélio on the front row, and JR Hildebrand for Panther Racing also in the mix.

Will Power was the unluckiest of a red-flag moment as he was on a hot lap at the time Ryan Hunter-Reay put power down with one wheel on the grass, spinning around and gently backing into the barrier. With the session finishing under red-flag, Power was unable to set a time good enough to get him through to the ‘Fast 6’ shootout and will start further down the order.

Things were even worse for Dario Franchitti. Balance problems carrying over from St Pete ruined the Scot’s day, failing to progress from the first qualifying group. The reigning series champion will start well down the grid and has it all to do to salvage anything respectable from the weekend.

For the time being though, Hélio is running white-hot and will have the best view of Turn 1 for Sunday’s 90-lap event.


2012 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St Petersburg Qualifying Results:

  Driver Entrant Result  
1. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske Chevrolet 1:10.4768 ‘Fast Six’
2. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 1:10.5222 ‘Fast Six’
3. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:10.5291 ‘Fast Six’
4. Mike Conway GBR AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda 1:10.8791 ‘Fast Six’
5. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing Chevrolet 1:11.0759 ‘Fast Six’
6. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:11.3740 ‘Fast Six’
7. EJ Viso VEN KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:11.5257 Top-12
8. Graham Rahal USA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:11.5841 Top-12
9. Will Power AUS Team Penske Chevrolet 1:12.0098 Top-12
10. Simon Pagenaud FRA Schmidt Hamilton Honda 1:14.2839 Top-12
11. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport Chevrolet no time Top-12
12. Ryan Briscoe AUS Team Penske Chevrolet no time Top-12
13. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 1:10.6512 Group 1
14. Rubens Barrichello BRA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:10.5664 Group 2
15. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman Honda 1:10.6851 Group 1
16. Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:10.6111 Group 2
17. Sébastien Bourdais FRA Lotus-Dragon Racing Lotus 1:10.7255 Group 1
18. Dario Franchitti GBR Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:10.6749 Group 2
19. Justin Wilson GBR Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:11.5524 Group 1
20. James Jakes GBR Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:10.7526 Group 2
21. Simona de Silvestro SUI Lotus-HVM Racing Lotus 1:11.5721 Group 1
22. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 1:11.3594 Group 2
23. Alex Tagliani CAN Lotus-BHA Lotus 1:12.5778 Group 1
24. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 1:11.8672 Group 2
25. Katherine Legge GBR Lotus-Dragon Racing Lotus 1:13.6457 Group 1
26. Oriol Servià ESP Dreyer & Reinbold Lotus 1:13.3349 Group 2

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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.