Dario Franchitti has displayed a remarkable U-turn in form to qualify fastest for this weekend’s opening Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle.
However, a grid penalty will mean that the Scot won’t get to start from pole position for Saturday’s opening race, with the honour instead going to EJ Viso.
Franchitti’s ten-place grid penalty comes about as a result of an unscheduled engine change performed by his Chip Ganassi Racing team during the previous round, the Indianapolis 500. As the Indy 500 does not enforce any grid penalties, they are carried over to the next race.
Also copping grid penalties from the Indianapolis 500 were Graham Rahal, Charlie Kimball and Josef Newgarden.
Frachitti’s performance was particularly impressive, especially given he had a near-miss with the street circuit’s wall and had to cop a drive-through penalty during the final ‘Fast Six’ qualifying session for a pit exit blend-line violation.
Viso will share his front-row starting position with the very impressive Mike Conway (pictured right), who demonstrated his street-circuit prowess with a brilliant qualifying performance on his first ever outing with the Dale Coyne Racing team.
Another surprise performer was James Jakes, with the usually anonymous midfield racer making his first ever ‘Fast Six’ appearance. He will start from third, ahead of reigning champion Ryan Hunter Reay and Alex Tagliani.
The start of qualifying presented the first ‘Group’ runners with the extra challenge of a damp – albeit rapidly drying – circuit. Most of the field managed to survive the session without any major damage, and it took until the top-twelve phase before we had any real drama.
That came courtesy of Helio Castroneves, who spun his Team Penske Chevrolet at Turn 4. The corner was initially controlled under waved yellows before circuit officials eventually opted to bring out the red flags, much to the chagrin of several teams – particularly Schmidt Peterson Motorsport and AJ Foyt Enterprises – who argued that the unexpected stoppage ruined their prospects of qualifying inside the all-important top-six.
Saturday’s 70-lap race will be followed by a separate qualifying session to determine the grid order for Sunday’s race, which will be the first in the IndyCar Series’ history to have a standing start.
2013 IndyCar Series Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit – Race 1 Qualifying Results:
|‘Fast 6’ Qualifiers||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Dario Franchitti*||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda||1:19.3311||F6|
|2.||E.J. Viso||Team Venzuela – Chevrolet||1:19.5572||F6|
|3.||Mike Conway||Dale Coyne Racing – Honda||1:19.8285||F6|
|4.||James Jakes||Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda||1:19.9897||F6|
|5.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||1:20.0030||F6|
|6.||Alex Tagliani||Barracuda Racing – Honda||1:20.3514||F6|
|‘Round 2’ Qualifiers||Entry / Team||Result|
|7.||Tristan Vautier||SPH – Honda||1:22.4497||T12|
|8.||Takuma Sato||AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda||1:22.7164||T12|
|9.||Simon Pagenaud||SPH – Honda||1:22.9250||T12|
|10.||Will Power||Team Penske – Chevrolet||1:22.9537||T12|
|11.||Sebastián Saavedra||Dragon Racing – Chevrolet||1:26.8058||T12|
|12.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske – Chevrolet||no time||T12|
|‘Group’ Qualifiers||Entry / Team||Result|
|13.||AJ Allmendinger||Team Penske – Chevrolet||1:37.7163||G2|
|14.||Graham Rahal*||Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda||1:30.5258||G1|
|15.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dragon Racing – Chevrolet||1:37.8823||G1|
|16.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda||1:30.6929||G2|
|17.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing – Honda||1:37.8891||G1|
|18.||Simona de Silvestro||KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet||1:31.0623||G2|
|19.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||1:38.0723||G2|
|20.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet||1:31.5555||T12|
|21.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||1:38.2000||T12|
|22.||Ryan Briscoe||Panther Racing – Chevrolet||1:31.6222||T12|
|23.||Josef Newgarden*||Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda||1:38.8651||G1|
|24.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet||1:33.3912||G2|
|25.||Charlie Kimball*||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda||1:44.0316||G1|