Will Power’s excellent start to the 2012 IndyCar Series championship season continues, with the Australian claiming pole position for Sunday’s fourth round of the championship, the Itaipava Indy 300 on the streets of São Paulo.
The Penske driver – who was the only member of his team to make the final ‘Fast Six’ phase of qualifying – narrowly edged out Chip Ganassi duo Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon for top spot, earning him a nice $10,000 purse and a bonus championship point for his efforts.
Franchitti backed up his Long Beach qualifying form with a front-row berth, just missing out on the pole by four-hundredths of a second around the bumpy street circuit. Dixon was a further four-tenths behind.
The Andretti Autosport team enjoyed a good qualifying session, getting three of its drivers into the top-twelve and seeing two of them – James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay – make the final pole shootout. The pair will start fourth and fifth, respectively.
Dale Coyne Racing driver Justin Wilson also showed how well he’s settled back into the team by qualifying sixth-fastest, making it three Honda and three Chevrolet entries in the top-six.
Josef Newgarden finished ninth-fastest and the fastest rookie driver in his Sarah Fisher Hartman entry, one spot ahead of Ryan Briscoe, who rounded out the top ten.
Plenty of local support and TV viewership did little to help the fortunes of the field’s four Brazilian drivers, with all but knocked out in the first phase of qualifying. KV Racing’s Tony Kanaan was the only one to make it into the second phase of qualifying, but he was slowest of all in that group and will start twelfth.
Team-mate Rubens Barrichello will be disappointed with his 16th-fastest effort on home soil; he starts one spot ahead of Hélio Castroneves, who hit the wall in the day’s earlier practice session.
Making a one-off street circuit appearance before her tilt at the Indianapolis 500, Ana Beatriz qualified her Andretti/Conquest entry 22nd-fastest, and the slowest non-Lotus runner to post a qualifying time.
Takuma Sato will start his Rahal Letterman Lanigan car from the back of the grid, failing to post a time while his mechanics changed his Honda engine.
2012 IndyCar Series Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Qualifying Results: