Sebastián Saavedra has inherited pole position for Saturday’s inaugural Grand Prix to be staged on the Indianapolis road course. Provisional pole-sitter Ryan Hunter-Reay was docked his fastest two lap times in the final phase of a rain-hit qualifying session, crashing backwards into the wall at the final corner to bring out the red flag.

The result marks the best performance of Saavedra’s IndyCar Series career. The Colombian – whose results over the last three years have promised little – kept it together when it counted and delivered a near-flawless run in qualifying to make it through the preceding knockout stages of qualifying.

Hunter-Reay crashes out

Hunter-Reay crashes out at the final corner

Hunter-Reay would have claimed the Verizon P1 Award for himself had he not caught a puddle of standing water at the final corner, which saw him go into a high speed loop followed by a heavy whack against the wall.

His time penalty dropped him to third on the grid, promoting rookie driver Jack Hawksworth to an impressive front-row start in the BHA Honda.

Starting alongside Hunter-Reay will be Simon Pagenaud, who was one of the pacesetters during the dry ‘Group’ running in qualifying as well as in final practice, which was also rain-affected.

Will Power and defending champion Scott Dixon completed the top-six, with six different teams also represented.

The dry-wet conditions caught out a number of drivers, with several more-fancied contenders qualifying poorly. Among those was Michael Andretti, who posted his banker times early on in anticipation of showers hitting the circuit during his qualifying session. The rain never arrived, leaving the frustrated American out of the fastest six runners who made it through to the next phase of the session.

Mikhail Aleshin found himself knocked out of contention for a ‘Round 2’ berth when he had his fastest two lap times docked after being judged to have impeded another driver. The Russian will now start from the rear of the grid, while his misfortune benefited Graham Rahal, who snuck into the top-twelve as a result.

2014 IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Qualifying:

‘Fast Six’ Session Team / Entry Time
1. Sebastián Saavedra KV Racing Technology / AFS Racing Honda Honda 1:23.8822
2. Jack Hawksworth Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Honda + 0.1966
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda Honda + 1.0060
4. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda Honda +1.4059
5. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet + 1.6394
6. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet + 1.7726
‘Round 2’ Session Team / Entry Time
7. Sébastien Bourdais KV Racing Technology Honda Honda 1:24.5187
8. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet 1:24.6209
9. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 1:24.7099
10. Hélio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet 1:24.8839
11. James Hinchcliffe ca Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 1:25.1318
12. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Honda 1:25.4748
Group Sessions Team / Entry Time
13. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 1:10.2488
14. Ryan Briscoe Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 1:10.2261
15. Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda Honda 1:10.3601
16. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda Honda 1:10.2804
17. Carlos Huertas Dale Coyne Racing Honda Honda 1:10.4264
18. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda Honda 1:10.4141
19. Carlos Muñoz Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 1:10.5097
20. Martin Plowman A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda Honda 1:10.4591
21. Franck Montagny Andretti Autosport Honda Honda 1:10.5571
22. Oriol Servià es Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Honda 1:10.5996
23. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 1:10.6413
24. Mike Conway Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet Chevrolet 1:10.6535
25. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda Honda 1:11.2704

Images via IndyCar Series Media

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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.