Takuma Sato has given the AJ Foyt Enterprises team a pole position on home soil, with the Japanese driver posting the fastest overall time in a revamped qualifying session for the weekend’s first of two races on the streets of Houston.
Last-minute track modifications had forced officials to tweak the schedule, meaning that the tradition ‘Group’, ‘Top 12’ and ‘Fast Six’ qualifying format had to be altered, with the field randomly split into two 15-minute sessions.
Sato, in the second group, benefitted from a session run entirely under green flags to post the fastest time of 1:00.4535, just over a tenth quicker than that managed by championship aspirant Scott Dixon, while Baltimore race-winner Simon Pagenaud was third-fastest in the group.
Those running in the first group were disadvantaged by less grippy track conditions and a temporary suspension of the session when Tristan Vautier had an accident in the opening minutes at Turn 10.
The accident had serious ramifications for championship contenders Ryan Hunter-Reay and Hélio Castroneves, who both qualified well down the order in their group.
When running resumed with just five minutes left, it was up to Will Power to post the quickest time of the session and ensure himself a front-row start for Saturday’s 90-lap race. The Australian’s fastest lap – which was 0.7 seconds slower than Sato’s later benchmark – was still an impressive effort, given his was posted on the slower ‘black-sidewalled’ Firestone tyres.
The Australian managed to outpace two of the IndyCar Series’ renowned street circuit specialists in the form of Sébastien Bourdais and Simona de Silvestro, who completed the top-three in their group to give themselves great grid positions for the race.
Rookie driver Luca Filippi was also a standout performer with the fourth-fastest time in his group of twelve drivers.
2013 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Houston – Race 1 Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entry / Team||Result|
|1.||Takuma Sato||AJ Foyt Enterprises – Honda||1:00.4535||G2|
|2.||Will Power||Team Penske – Chevrolet||1:01.1524||G1|
|3.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda||1:00.6057||G2|
|4.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dragon Racing – Chevrolet||1:01.4911||G1|
|5.||Simon Pagenaud||SPH – Honda||1:00.6184||G2|
|6.||Simona de Silvestro||KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet||1:01.5527||G1|
|7.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||1:01.2123||G2|
|8.||Luca Filippi||Barracuda Racing – Honda||1:01.6520||G1|
|9.||E.J. Viso||Team Venezuela – Chevrolet||1:01.3274||G2|
|10.||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda||1:01.7201||G1|
|11.||James Jakes||Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda||1:01.3678||G2|
|12.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||1:01.7907||G1|
|13.||Mike Conway||Dale Coyne Racing – Honda||1:01.5154||G2|
|14.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing – Honda||1:01.8065||G1|
|15.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology – Chevrolet||1:01.5409||G2|
|16.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport – Chevrolet||1:01.8305||G1|
|17.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing – Honda||1:01.6329||G2|
|18.||Oriol Servia||Panther Racing – Chevrolet||1:01.9043||G1|
|19.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan – Honda||1:02.0140||G2|
|20.||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman – Honda||1:02.1588||G1|
|21.||Sebastián Saavedra||Dragon Racing – Chevrolet||1:02.1175||G2|
|22.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske – Chevrolet||1:02.2823||G1|
|23.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing – Chevrolet||1:03.5193||G2|
|24.||Tristan Vautier||SPH – Honda||no time||G1|