Fernando Alonso has narrowly missed out claiming an historic pole position for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500, and will start the famous oval race from fifth place.

Pole position went to New Zealand racer Scott Dixon, who posted the fastest four-lap qualifying average speed in over 20 years to claim the third Indianapolis 500 pole position of his career. The former champion posted three laps in excess of 232mph (373km/h) in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, outpacing Saturday’s provisional polesitter Ed Carpenter by exactly 0.5mph.

While Dixon was happy to accept the plaudits, the accident of former F1 driver Sébastien Bourdais weighed heavily on his mind and he was quick to admit that the French veteran was in fact the event’s ultimate pace-setter until his frightening crash that has prematurely ended his season.

“To be honest, I think he would have been the one who snatched the pole today. So [I’ve] just got to wish him well. I know he’s going to be on the mend quickly and hopefully he can be in a car here very soon,” Dixon said.

Bourdais underwent surgery overnight to repair a number of pelvic and hip fractures he suffered when his car hit the wall and rolled at Turn 2. The four-time ChampCar World Series champion has been ruled out of racing for the rest of the IndyCar Series season.

Joining Dixon and Carpenter on the front row of the grid is defending race-winner Alexander Rossi, who led a trio of Andretti Autosport entries on the timesheets.

Teammate Takuma Sato delivered a typically wild four-lap run and twice brushed the wall en route to claiming fourth-fastest, mere fractions quicker than the man of the ‘month of May’, Fernando Alonso.

In scenes very reminiscent of his Formula 1 season, his mechanics worked frantically to change his Honda engine ahead of the ‘Fast 9’ shootout. The Spaniard reported the rear of his car was loose, but still continued to exceed everyone’s expectations with a superb run to fifth.

Oval specialist JR Hildebrand ensured both Ed Carpenter Racing entries would qualify inside the top-six, while Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi), Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) and Will Power (Team Penske) completed the ‘Fast 9’ runners.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosports Honda - 2017 Indianapolis 500

Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified tenth-fastest.

The balance of the field’s 33 entries had a separate qualifying session to determine the starting order for the fourth row of the grid onward, with Andretti’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (pictured right) claiming top spot.

The American was the only runner in that session to post a lap above 231mph, and impressively achieved the feat on all four of his laps to comfortably claim the fastest time.

He will start ahead of rookie driver Ed Jones, who underscored the speed seen by Dale Coyne Racing teammate Bourdais before his crash. The Dubai-based driver was the only other entrant to lap above 230mph on all four of his qualifying laps.

Jones will start ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Oriol Servià – who was the biggest mover on the timesheets overnight – with the Cataln driver’s teammate Graham Rahal sandwiching the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda of Mikhail Aleshin.

Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball will start from fifteenth and sixteenth respectively, while last year’s polesitter James Hinchcliffe could do not better than seventeenth.


2017 IndyCar Series – 101st Indianapolis 500 Final Qualifying Results
‘Fast 9’ Qualifiers Team Avg. Speed
1. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 232.164 mph
2. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing 231.664 mph
3. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport 231.487 mph
4. Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport 231.365 mph
5. Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda Andretti 231.300 mph
6. JR Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing 230.889 mph
7. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing 230.828 mph
8. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 230.474 mph
9. Will Power Team Penske 230.200 mph
‘10-33’ Qualifiers Team Avg. Speed
10. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 231.442 mph
11. Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing 230.578 mph
12. Oriol Servià Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 230.309 mph
13. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 230.271 mph
14. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 230.253 mph
15. Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing 230.068 mph
16. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing 229.956 mph
17. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 229.860 mph
18. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske 229.565 mph
19. Hélio Castroneves Team Penske 229.515 mph
20. Jay Howard Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 229.414 mph
21. Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 229.380 mph
22. Josef Newgarden Team Penske 228.501 mph
23. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske 228.093 mph
24. Carlos Muñoz A.J. Foyt Enterprises 227.921 mph
25. Gabby Chaves Harding Racing 226.921 mph
26. Conor Daly A.J. Foyt Enterprises 226.439 mph
27. Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing 225.742 mph
28. Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing 225.008 mph
29. Spencer Pigot Juncos Racing 224.052 mph
30. Buddy Lazier Lazier Partners Racing 223.417 mph
31. Sebastián Saavedra Juncos Racing 221.142 mph
32. Zach Veach A.J. Foyt Enterprises 221.081 mph
33. James Davison Dale Coyne Racing no time

Images via LAT Images and Motorsport.com

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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.

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