Ryan Hunter-Reay has won pole position for Sunday's Sao Paulo Indy 300

Ryan Hunter-Reay survived an eventful qualifying session to head an all-Andretti Autosports front row ahead of Sunday’s Sao Paulo Indy 300. The reigning champion broke the circuit’s lap record en route to claiming top spot, and he will share the front row with EJ Viso, who delivered a career-best qualifying performance.

Qualifying on the tricky street circuit was full of incident and intrigue, with one of the major headlines of the afternoon being a disastrous qualifying performance for the Penske outfit, which saw three-time Sao Paulo winner Will Power and teamate Helio Castroneves both eliminated at the first hurdle.

The pair were knocked out of contention after James Jakes’ Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan entry broke down in the session and brought out the red flags, leaving the duo with no opportunity to post competitive lap times and make it into the Top-12 reckoning. Power will face a mighty challenge to keep his undefeated title here, starting from 22nd on the grid.

Tristan Vautier was another driver to trigger the red flags, with the Frenchman clattering into the Turn 2 barriers in the ‘Group 1’ phase. The accident delayed the start of the top-twelve qualifying phase, and also led to a double blow for the SPH Racing team, with Vautier’s teammate Simon Pagenaud unable to post a flying lap time as a result of his compatriot’s smash.

That gave the second phase of qualifying – for the fastest six runners in the group – a slightly unusual make-up, but it was all smiles in the Andretti stable, which had all four of its cars in the session. Of the quartet, all but Michael Andretti made it into the ‘Fast Six’ shootout for pole.

While Hunter-Reay and Viso claimed the front row for themselves and teammate James Hinchcliffe was fifth-quickest, the remainder of the top-six was secured by Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan (an impressive performance given he is still nursing a serious hand injury) and Scott Dixon.

2013 IndyCar Series Sao Paulo Indy 300 – Final Qualifying Results:

  ‘Fast 6’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
1. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:20.4312 F6
2. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela – Chevrolet + 0.3068 T12
3. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda + 0.4610 F6
4. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet + 0.5500 T12
5. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet + 0.5581 T12
6. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda + 0.6871 G2
  ‘Round 2’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
7. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 1:20.8210 G1
8. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 1:20.9390 G2
9. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 1:21.0570 G1
10. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:21.1716 G2
11. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing – Chevrolet 1:21.2961 T12
12. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda 1:21.3618 F6
  ‘Group’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
13. Oriol Servià Panther / D&R – Chevrolet 1:21.7963 G1
14. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet 1:24.0203 G2
15. Alex Tagliani CAN Barracuda Racing – Honda 1:21.8636 G1
16. Ana Beatriz BRA Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 1:24.8864 G2
17. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:22.2482 G1
18. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske – Chevrolet 1:25.1734 G2
19. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 1:22.2998 G1
20. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing – Chevrolet no time G2
21. Tristan Vautier SPH – Honda no time G1
22. Will Power AUS Team Penske – Chevrolet no time G2
23. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda no time G1
24. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda no time G2
25. Simon Pagenaud SPH – Honda no time 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.