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: