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||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||KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet||+ 0.5500||T12|
|5.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||+ 0.5581||T12|
|6.||Scott Dixon||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||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||1:21.1716||G2|
|11.||JR Hildebrand||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||Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet||1:24.0203||G2|
|15.||Alex Tagliani||Barracuda Racing – Honda||1:21.8636||G1|
|16.||Ana Beatriz||Dale Coyne Racing – Honda||1:24.8864||G2|
|17.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda||1:22.2482||G1|
|18.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske – Chevrolet||1:25.1734||G2|
|19.||Graham Rahal||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||Team Penske – Chevrolet||no time||G2|
|23.||Josef Newgarden||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|