Fernando Alonso’s impressive Indianapolis 500 campaign has continued into qualifying, with the two-time Formula 1 World Champion booking himself a spot in Sunday’s ‘Fast Nine’ session to where he will compete for pole position.
The Spaniard’s outstanding showing was in direct contrast to former F1 driver Sébastien Bourdais, who suffered a terrifying crash that saw the Frenchman flip his Dale Coyne Racing entry after hitting the wall at Turn 2.
His car landed on its wheels, and Bourdais was taken to the nearby Methodist Hospital for examination. He was described as “awake and alert” by officials, who confirmed that the 38-year-old was reporting pain in his legs and hips.
After an early rain shower hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, officials elected to reduce preliminary qualifying to a single four-lap run for each driver. The fast nine would progress to the ‘Fast 9’ session and compete for pole, while those who were tenth and below will have a second session on Sunday to determine their starting order.
The session was topped by oval specialist Ed Carpenter, who was one of just two driver to clock four laps over 230mph, posting a 230.465mph average to put his Chevrolet-powered runner at the top of the timesheets in a session dominated by Honda runners.
Former F1 driver Takuma Sato was second-fastest in the first of six Andretti Autosport entries, with a 230.382mph effort, ahead of 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon in the Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
In an excellent day for Carpenter’s eponymous team, JR Hildebrand was fourth-quickest ahead of defending Indianpolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi.
Team Penske had a difficult qualifying session, with Will Power its sole representative to make it into the ‘Fast 9’.
All eyes were on seventh-fastest Fernando Alonso, who was the fastest rookie driver with his first two laps over 230mph in his joint-venture McLaren/Andretti Honda. He beat home Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti to complete the group of nine.
The Fast Nine will have a number of notable absentees, including four of the five Penske entries, as well as Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and last year’s polesitter James Hinchcliffe.
|2017 IndyCar Series – 101st Indianapolis 500 Provisional Qualifying Results|
|1.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||230.468 mph|
|2.||Takuma Sato||Andretti Autosport||230.382 mph|
|3.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||230.333 mph|
|4.||JR Hildebrand||Ed Carpenter Racing||230.205 mph|
|5.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||230.148 mph|
|6.||Will Power||Team Penske||230.072 mph|
|7.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda Andretti||230.034 mph|
|8.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||230.007 mph|
|9.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||229.924 mph|
|10.||Ed Jones||Dale Coyne Racing||229.717 mph|
|11.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||229.713 mph|
|12.||Max Chilton||Chip Ganassi Racing||229.636 mph|
|13.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||229.533 mph|
|14.||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||229.390 mph|
|15.||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||229.217 mph|
|16.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||228.835 mph|
|17.||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||228.696 mph|
|18.||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske||228.645 mph|
|19.||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||228.577 mph|
|20.||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||228.393 mph|
|21.||Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||227.943 mph|
|22.||Jay Howard||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||227.853 mph|
|23.||Carlos Munoz||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||227.438 mph|
|24.||Oriol Servia||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||227.150 mph|
|25.||Jack Harvey||Michael Shank Racing||226.894 mph|
|26.||Gabby Chaves||Harding Racing||226.875 mph|
|27.||Conor Daly||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||225.912 mph|
|28.||Sebastian Saavedra||Juncos Racing||225.815 mph|
|29.||Spencer Pigot||Juncos Racing||223.631 mph|
|30.||Buddy Lazier||Lazier Partners Racing||221.427 mph|
|31.||Pippa Mann||Dale Coyne Racing||219.282 mph|
|32.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||no time|
|33.||Zach Veach||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||no time|