Ryan Hunter-Reay has won pole position for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will start from pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsport Park, surviving a late challenge from Will Power in an action-filled qualifying session.

The Andretti Autosports driver moved to top spot in the dying moments of the final ‘Fast Six’ phase of qualifying, and then had to endure a tense wait as Power went for one final dash to try and wrestle top spot, with his efforts ultimately falling short by two-tenths of a second.

The pair line up ahead of the series’ sensational rookie Tristan Vautier, who finished third-fastest in just his second-ever IndyCar outing. The Frenchman originally qualified seventh-quickest at the end of the second round of qualifying, but was a late invitee to the ‘Fast Six’ after the event stewards disqualified Takuma Sato from further participation.

The Japanese driver was the first victim of the new sporting regulations sub-clause, which stipulates that a driver can be disqualified from further participation – in addition to having his fastest two laps disallowed – if found to have impeded another driver in either the Group or ‘Round 2’ segments of qualifying.

Scott Dixon ensured that four difference teams would occupy the first four grid positions with his effort getting him the outside of the second row of the grid, while Chip Ganassi teammate Charlie Kimball delivered an excellent fifth-fastest effort, ahead of Hélio Castroneves in the second of the three Penske entries.

Making his IndyCar debut in Penske’s third car was AJ Allmendinger, who qualified a solid tenth-fastest.

Qualifying saw several high-profile candidates eliminated, with several knocked out in the Group 1 phase, including the likes of Simon Pagenaud, Dario Franchitti, Alex Tagliani, Tony Kanaan, and Sébastien Bourdais.

Simona de Silvestro was another high-profile runner to be knocked out in ‘Group 2’, which will be all the more disappointing given she was quickest in Saturday’s final practice session.

Championship leader and St Petersburg racewinner James Hinchcliffe was another runner to be eliminated in the same group. The Canadian later complained that he’d been blocked by Power, but the stewards disregarded his cries, consigning the Andretti driver to a lowly twentieth on the grid.

2013 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama Final Qualifying Results:

No. Driver   Entry / Team Result  
1. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:07.0871 F6
2. Will Power AUS Team Penske – Chevrolet 1:07.3304 F6
3. Tristan Vautier SPH – Honda 1:07.3616 F6
4. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:07.3642 F6
5. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:07.4987 F6
6. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske – Chevrolet 1:07.5106 F6
7. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:07.4893 R2
8. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 1:07.4964 R2
9. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 1:07.6317 R2
10. AJ Allmendinger USA Team Penske – Chevrolet 1:07.6972 R2
11. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 1:07.8832 R2
12. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda Disallowed R2
13. Simon Pagenaud SPH – Honda09 1:07.2409 G1
14. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 1:07.7291 G2
15. Alex Tagliani CAN Barracuda Racing – Honda 1:07.2886 G1
16. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela – Chevrolet 1:07.7337 G2
17. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:07.2965 G1
18. Oriol Servià Panther / D&R – Chevrolet 1:07.7474 G2
19. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 1:07.3761 G1
20. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:07.7774 G2
21. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 1:07.4184 G1
22. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda 1:07.7830 G2
23. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 1:07.4567 G1
24. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing – Chevrolet 1:07.8467 G2
25. Ana Beatriz BRA Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 1:08.9108 G1
26. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet 1:08.6362 G2

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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.