Reigning IndyCar Series champion Will Power has let another Team Penske 1-2-3 in qualifying, breaking the lap record en route to claiming pole position for the first of this weekend’s double-header races at the Belle Isle Park street circuit in Detroit.

Power, who also set the lap record in the season opening Firestone Indy Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with the radical new Chevrolet permanent/street circuit aero kits, recorded a lap time of 1:16.094 on the 2.36-mile (3.80-kilometre) 14-turn street circuit in the final ‘Firestone Fast Six’ shootout for pole.

“I had new tyres and I was pushing hard (on his final lap) because they said Hélio and Juan were pretty close,” Power said afterwards. “It’s the pole but it’s a long race around here. Once again, it’s about battling the teammates around here as we have all year. It’s been a great weekend and a really good start. We will try and keep ourselves out of trouble and see what magic we can do tomorrow.”

The achievement marked the 39th career pole for Power – drawing him one short of Rick Mears’ tally on the all-time list – and his first around the twisty Detroit circuit as he celebrates his 100th race start for the Penske team in Sunday’s second race.

Team Penske teammates Hélio Castroneves (1:16.120) and recently-crowned 2015 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya (1:16.442) qualified second and third respectively to give the team a 1-2-3 rout ahead of Saturday’s 70-lap race.

A.J. Foyt’s Takuma Sato qualified a season-high fourth-fastest to finish as the fastest of the Honda runners, and with rain forecast for the race, the Japanese driver is well placed to show his wet-weather prowess. The former Grand Prix driver qualified ahead of the fourth Penske entry of Simon Pagenaud (1:16.665), who edged out his compatriot Sébastien Bourdais to fifth place.

Penske rivals Chip Ganassi Racing had a poor qualifying session by their usual standards. Indy 500 pole-winner Scott Dixon was the team’s best runner, qualifying seventh ahead of IndyCar rookie Stefano Coletti, who was an impressive eighth-fastest in his KV Racing entry.

“I have never been on a track like this, it’s very bumpy and pretty difficult to drive when it gets hot like this, but everyone is dealing with the same issues,” said Coletti. “The team has done a great job setting my car up for this weekend and I’m looking forward to trying to pick up a few more positions in the race.”

Tony Kanaan, who was fastest in the morning practice session, failed to translate that pace in qualifying and was knocked out in the first segment; the Brazilian will start a lowly fifteenth.

Saturday’s 70-lap race gets underway at 3:30pm local time (GMT-4).


2015 IndyCar Series Chevrolet Dual in Detroit – Race 1 Qualifying Results
Grid ‘Fast Six’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap
1. Will Power au Team Penske 1:16.0941
2. Hélio Castroneves br Team Penske 1:16.1200 + 0.0259
3. Juan Pablo Montoya co Team Penske 1:16.4428 + 0.3487
4. Takuma Sato jp A.J. Foyt Racing 1:16.5363 + 0.4422
5. Simon Pagenaud fr Team Penske 1:16.6556 + 0.5715
6. Sébastien Bourdais fr KV Racing Technology 1:17.0406 + 0.9465
Grid ‘Top 12’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap*
7. Scott Dixon nz Chip Ganassi Racing 1:16.9353 + 0.2873
8. Stefano Coletti mc KV Racing Technology 1:16.9798 + 0.6743
9. Marco Andretti us Andretti Autosport 1:17.3638 + 0.6890
10. James Jakes uk Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:17.3785 + 0.8263
11. Tristan Vautier fr Dale Coyne Racing 1:17.5158 + 1.1245
12. Sage Karam us Chip Ganassi Racing 1:17.8140 + 1.2151
Grid ‘Group 1’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap
13. Jack Hawksworth uk A.J. Foyt Racong 1:18.7504 + 1.797
15. Ryan Hunter-Reay us Andretti Autosport 1:19. + 1.2151
17. Josef Newgarden us CFH Racing 1:19. + 0.542
19. Carlos Muñoz co Andretti Autosport 1:21. + 0.616
21. Rodolfo González ve Dale Coyne Racing 1:21. + 2.038
Grid ‘Group 2’ Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap
14. Graham Rahal us Rahal Letterman Lanigan 1:18.2239 + 0.9756
16. Tony Kanaan br Chip Ganassi Racing 1:18.3144 + 1.0661
18. Charlie Kimball us Chip Ganassi Racing 1:18.3303 + 1.0820
20. Luca Filippi it CFH Racing 1:18.4404 + 1.1921
22. Conor Daly us Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1:18.4937 + 1.2454
23. Gabby Chaves co Bryan Herta Autosport 1:19.2306 + 1.9823

 

  • * Denotes gap to fastest ‘Top 12’ qualifying session time of 1:16.6895 posted by Juan Pablo Montoya. Fastest six qualifiers progress to the ‘Fast Six’ shootout for pole position.
  • ** Denotes gap to fastest ‘Group 2’ qualifying session time of 1:17.6219 posted by Simon Pagenaud. Fastest six qualifiers progress to ‘Top 12’ stage, with the remaining drivers occupying the odd-numbered grid positions 13, 15, 17, etc.
  • *** Denotes gap to fastest ‘Group 1’ qualifying session time of 1:17.2483 posted by Will Power. Fastest six qualifiers progress to ‘Top 12’ stage, with the remaining drivers occupying the even-numbered grid positions 14, 16, 18, etc.

Image via Motorsport.com

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Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8
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