Dario Franchitti will start from pole position for Sunday's Grand Prix of Sonoma

Dario Franchitti has claimed pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Sonoma, leading a Chip Ganassi Racing front-row lockout of the Californian circuit in another closely-contested qualifying session.

It is the Scot’s fourth pole position of the season and his third at Sonoma Raceway, and despite his impressive qualifying record in 2013, the four-time IndyCar Series champion is yet to celebrate a race win this season.

But with overtaking a notoriously difficult feat around the undulating 2.385-mile road course, Franchitti is in prime position to become the tenth different winner of the season.

However, he will have to contend with the challenge of teammate Dixon, who with three race wins in 2013 remains a far more realistic contender for outright championship honours. The New Zealander lies in second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings, while Franchitti is over 100 points adrift of the lead in sixth.

Will Power was third-quickest in his Team Penske entry, one spot better than reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, while current points leader Hélio Castroneves finished fifth-quickest ahead of last-time winner Charlie Kimball in the third Ganassi entry.

Qualifying proved a rather tougher challenge for those making their return to the grid, with JR Hildebrand (Barracuda Racing) and Ryan Briscoe (Panther Racing) both qualifying well down the order.

Championship newbie James Davison was 21st-fastest in his second outing for Dale Coyne Racing, while series debutant Lucas Luhr was some margin off the pace in his first outing for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.

2013 IndyCar Series GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma – Qualifying Results:

  ‘Fast 6’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
1. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:17.5271  
2. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda + 0.1925  
3. Will Power AUS Team Penske – Chevrolet + 0.4464  
4. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet + 0.6043  
5. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske – Chevrolet + 0.6495  
6. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda + 0.6738  
  ‘Round 2’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
7. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 1:18.2138  
8. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 1:18.3051  
9. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:18.3135  
10. Simon Pagenaud SPH – Honda 1:18.3787  
11. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:18.6230  
12. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 1:26.7515  
  ‘Group’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
13. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda 1:18.9164 G1
14. Tristan Vautier SPH – Honda 1:18.3141 G2
15. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela – Chevrolet 1:18.9344 G1
16. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 1:18.3318 G2
17. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda 1:19.0094 G1
18. JR Hildebrand USA Barracuda Racing – Honda 1:18.7114 G2
19. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 1:19.1563 G1
20. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 1:18.8967 G2
21. James Davison AUS Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 1:18.5285 G1
22. Ryan Briscoe AUS Panther Racing – Chevrolet 1:18.9743 G2
23. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 1:19.5298 G1
24. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet 1:19.2376 G2
25. Lucas Luhr DEU Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda 1:19.9805 G2

Youth Without Borders

Matthew Lennon
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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.