At times, you wonder why other drivers bother going for pole position anymore – especially when it’s a road or street circuit and Will Power is sitting patiently in his Penske. Yet on Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, there was an inclining that the Aussie might finally have been rumbled – the 29-year-old having smashed his primary car during the morning session. No matter – Power got into the back up car and put that on pole position instead. Simples.
It wasn’t completely clear cut. The Andretti Autosport man, Ryan Hunter-Reay and the Ganassi pair of Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti frequently challenged for top spot, while Takuma Sato in his Lotus-coloured KV Racing machine set some ferocious times too. Eventually Franchitti did enough to secure the outside of turn 1 alongside Power, with Sato leading Hunter-Reay on the second row. Dixon lined-up behind the front four, as Helio Castroneves silently claimed sixth spot.
Disappointed to miss out were EJ Viso, Justin Wilson and Ryan Briscoe – all of whom were involved in incidents. After violently chopping off Helio Castroneves on the back stretch and spinning on his fast lap, Viso baulked Briscoe while recovering leading the Australian himself to spin. The Penske then appeared to be letting a fast approaching Justin Wilson through, when he drew across the track and sent both into the tyre barrier. A silly mistake by the 2009 title challenger led to briefly angry scenes, but more importantly it left him down in 7th place, alongside Viso (8th). Wilson starts from 11th.
There were high hopes that Simona de Silvestro might be able to make it through to the Firestone Fast Six, but a failure just prior to her final run left the ‘Swiss Miss’ all the way down in 10th position. Marco Andretti and Hideki Mutoh start from 9th and 12th respectively after fairly anonymous sessions. The Andretti name has has some interesting accidents in the past at Mid-Ohio, with Marco’s father (Michael) flipping violently in 1998 and Marco himself landing upside down at the race start in 2007.
The first qualifying sessions carried a few surprises – only naturally considering it knocks out half the field – and on this occasion Dan Wheldon (13th), Adam Carroll (17th) and Tony Kanaan (20th) failed to make it through to the initial stages. IndyCar débutantes JR Hildebrand and Francesco Dracone line up in 18th and 23rd respectively and despite upping her speed this weekend, Milka Duno was not allowed to qualify. The Dale Coyne driver will start 27th and last.
This was Power’s fifth pole of the season and was enough for him to clinch the Andretti Road Course Trophy and the extra point from pole allowed the Penske driver to extend his Championship lead to 51 points over Dario Franchitti. The IndyCar race will be broadcast live from 8pm on Sky Sports 4 at 8pm (BST) with the green flag about 15 minutes later. Both the IndyLights and IndyCar races will also be shown on indycar.com from 5.15pm (BST) onwards.
IZOD IndyCar Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (Rd 12)
SP Car Driver Car Name Entrant Time Speed
1 12 Will Power Verizon Team Penske 1:07.1997 120.965
2 10 Dario Franchitti Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:07.2846 120.812
3 5 Takuma Sato (R) Lotus-KV Racing Technology 1:07.4337 120.545
4 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 1:07.4411 120.532
5 9 Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing 1:07.4711 120.478
6 3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske 1:07.5370 120.361
7 6 Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 1:07.4687 120.483
8 8 E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology 1:07.4713 120.478
9 26 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 1:07.5436 120.349
10 78 Simona de Silvestro (R) HVM Racing 1:07.6190 120.215
11 22 Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:07.6239 120.208
12 06 Hideki Mutoh Newman/Haas Racing 1:07.7491 119.984
13 4 Dan Wheldon Panther Racing 1:08.2415 119.118
14 77 Alex Tagliani FAZZT Race Team 1:07.7789 119.931
15 36 Bertrand Baguette (R) Conquest Racing 1:08.3069 119.004
16 32 Mario Moraes KV Racing Technology 1:07.7821 119.925
17 27 Adam Carroll (R) Andretti Autosport 1:08.4825 118.699
18 24 J.R. Hildebrand (R) Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:07.7943 119.904
19 2 Raphael Matos de Ferran/Dragon Racing 1:08.5386 118.602
20 11 Tony Kanaan Andretti Autosport 1:07.9321 119.661
21 19 Alex Lloyd (R) Dale Coyne Racing 1:08.7818 118.182
22 7 Danica Patrick Andretti Autosport 1:07.9780 119.580
23 34 Francesco Dracone (R) Conquest Racing 1:11.3968 113.854
24 14 Vitor Meira A.J. Foyt Racing 1:08.0414 119.468
25 02 Graham Rahal KV Racing Technology 1:08.0459 119.461
26 66 Jay Howard (R) Sarah Fisher Racing 1:09.5028 116.956
27 18 Milka Duno Dale Coyne Racing No time No Speed