Scott Dixon survived a thrilling qualifying session to claim pole position for the Grand Prix of Baltimore

Scott Dixon has survived a dramatic qualifying session to claim his twentieth IndyCar Series career pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore.

The New Zealander staged a thrilling duel with Penske rival Will Power in the final ‘Fast Six’ session, pipping the Australian to top spot by a scant three-hundredths of a second around the twisting two-mile street circuit.

Power – who had held provisional pole by three-tenths of a second with a seemingly unbeatable lap time – had one final opportunity to knock Dixon from top spot, only to fluff his final flying lap when he outbraked himself at the Turn 3 hairpin.

That Dixon even made it into the ‘Fast Six’ phase of qualifying was itself a talking point during Saturday’s action-packed qualifying session. The Chip Ganassi driver was classified seventh-fastest in the second phase of qualifying, but was promoted to the top-six after Graham Rahal was docked his fastest lap times for triggering a red flag when he slid into the tyres at Turn 8 late in the session.

Officials had tried to manage Rahal’s crash with a local yellow flag, only for a full stoppage to be enforced when Tristan Vautier slid into the back of Rahal’s car.

Vautier – who had also qualified fast enough for the ‘Fast Six’ – somehow escaped punishment, and managed to participate in the final session with minor battle scars on his SPH Honda entry. He qualified slowest of the six runners, with his third-placed teammate Simon Pagenaud sandwiching Justin Wilson and Josef Newgarden, with the latter having his most competitive qualifying performance of the season.

Dixon’s performance was all the more important because both of his main championship rivals – series leader Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay – qualified further down the order and will share the fourth row of the grid for Sunday’s 75-lap race.

Several of the weekend’s more-fancied runners had difficulties in qualifying, with a number of drivers coming to grief after hopping the kerbs through the final chicane complex that leads onto the start/finish straight.

Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti had both suffered damage to their cars after biffing the outside wall in the day’s earlier practice session, and only managed to qualify eleventh and eighteenth, respectively.

A big loser in qualifying at the same complex was Sebastien Bourdais, who got it badly wrong through the chicane, launching his Dragon Racing entry into the outside wall and littering the straight with debris from his damaged car.

2013 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Baltimore – Qualifying Results:

  ‘Fast 6’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
1. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:18.0838  
2. Will Power AUS Team Penske – Chevrolet + 0.0333  
3. Simon Pagenaud SPH – Honda + 0.3469  
4. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing – Honda + 0.7860  
5. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda + 0.8184  
6. Tristan Vautier SPH – Honda + 0.9542  
  ‘Round 2’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
7. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske – Chevrolet 1:19.0288  
8. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:19.0367  
9. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:19.0523  
10. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda 1:19.2216  
11. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:19.3182  
12. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 1:22.2045  
  ‘Group’ Qualifiers   Entry / Team Result  
13. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda 1:18.6398 G1
14. Luca Filippi ITA Barracuda Racing – Honda 1:19.1242 G2
15. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda 1:18.6694 G1
16. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 1:19.3051 G2
17. Oriol Servia ESP Panther Racing – Chevrolet 1:18.8075 G1
18. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet 1:19.4738 G2
19. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet 1:18.9829 G1
20. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet 1:20.5694 G2
21. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing – Chevrolet 1:19.2440 G1
22. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela – Chevrolet no time G2
23. Stefan Wilson Dale Coyne Racing – Honda 1:20.1871 G1
24. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing – Chevrolet no time G2 supports a world free of factory farming. Learn more and pledge your support by CLICKING HERE!

Matthew Lennon
The following two tabs change content below.

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.