Will Power has won pole position for Sunday’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama by a scant 0.02 seconds from James Hinchcliffe to close out a highly competitive qualifying session at the Barber Motorsport Park circuit.
The Australian clocked a 1:08.312 lap on his first flying lap in his Penske, while his Andretti Autosport rival came within a whisker of stealing top spot on his reply lap. But with a number of the ‘Fast Six’ qualifiers electing to save tyre sets for the race, Power’s time ultimately proved unbeatable.
Friday fast man Ryan Hunter-Reay wound up third-fastest in the second of the four Andretti entries to qualify inside the top-nine. He, Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden – who qualified fourth-fastest in his Sarah Fisher Hartmann entry – will resume hostilities once again, following Hunter-Reay’s ill-timed dive on Newgarden a fortnight ago at Long Beach, which took out Hinchcliffe as well.
Scott Dixon and Hélio Castroneves rounded out the top-six qualifiers for Chip Ganassi and Penske respectively, with the latter throwing away his claim at pole position by dropping a wheel into the dirt on his flying lap.
Qualifying also produced its fair share of upset performances. Outside of Dixon’s top-six effort, the Chip Ganassi stable struggled, with neither Charlie Kimball, Ryan Briscoe or Tony Kanaan able to progress beyond the first group stages.
The same fate befell Long Beach winner Mike Conway, who flat-spotted his tyres on his opening run and subsequently had his car’s handling disintegrate.
2014 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying:
|‘Fast Six’ Session||Team / Entry||Time|
|1.||Will Power||Team Penske Chevrolet||1:08.3120|
|2.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport Honda||+ 0.0289|
|3.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport Honda||+ 0.1144|
|4.||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda||+ 0.1582|
|5.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||+ 0.2031|
|6.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske Chevrolet||+ 0.3138|
|‘Round 2’ Session||Team / Entry||Time|
|7.||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti Autosport Honda||1:08.6388|
|8.||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske Chevrolet||1:08.6453|
|9.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport Honda||1:08.6634|
|10.||Simon Pagenaud||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda||1:08.8682|
|11.||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda||1:09.1708|
|12.||Sébastien Bourdais||KV Racing Technology Honda||no time|
|Group Sessions||Team / Entry||Time|
|13.||Sebastián Saavedra||KV Racing Technology / AFS Racing Honda||1:08.9674|
|14.||Takuma Sato||A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda||1:09.1451|
|15.||Carlos Huertas||Dale Coyne Racing Honda||1:09.0267|
|16.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing Honda||1:09.2018|
|17.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||1:09.1941|
|18.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda||1:09.2228|
|19.||Oriol Servià||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda||1:09.2935|
|20.||Ryan Briscoe||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||1:09.2722|
|21.||Mike Conway||Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet||1:09.8580|
|22.||Jack Hawksworth||Bryan Herta Autosport Honda||1:09.4201|
|23.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet||1:09.5829|
Image via XPB Images