2011 IndyCar Honda GP of Alabama (Rd 2, Qualifying, April 9th)
Will Power notched up the sixteenth pole of his IndyCar career on Saturday at leafy Barber Motorsports Park.
The Australian secured the top spot with a best quickest lap of 111.454, giving the Penske pilot a three-tenths advantage over 2nd place man Ryan Briscoe (Penske).
Scott Dixon broke the Penske stranglehold by taking 3rd spot in his Target Chip Ganassi machine. Helio Castroneves made it three Penske’s in the top-four, although the Brazilian may be dismayed to be nearly seven-tenths adrift of Power.
Dreyer & Reinbold’s Justin Wilson once again proved his worth on the road courses. The Englishman’s fastest lap was enough to a secure a top-five, just ahead of Oriol Servia (6th, Newman-Haas).
Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) was the shock drop-out from the second stage of qualifying. The reigning IndyCar Champion missed out on the “Firestone Fast 6” by just over one-thousandth of-a-second. Overtaking is difficult at Barber, so a fourth-row start could make for a frustrating race for the Scot.
Along side Franchitti was the impressive James Hinchcliffe. The Newman-Haas débutante beat a notable few in what was his first qualifying session, including Marco Andretti (9th, Andretti-Autosport) and Graham Rahal (10th, Ganassi).
Takuma Sato (KV Racing) and Alex Tagliani (Sam Schmidt Motorsport) made the sixth row all their own, as they aim for solid points in the race.
Simona de Silvestro (13th) topped the drivers knocked out of the opening qualifying stint. The HVM pilot will be taking the inside row, with JR Hildebrand (15th, Panther), Ryan Hunter-Reay (17th, Andretti-Autosport), Vitor Meira (19th, Foyt) and Charlie Kimball (21st, Ganassi) following suit.
The injured Ana Beatriz was replaced by Simon Pagenaud at Dreyer & Reinbold. The substitute took 23rd on his début, bettering fellow rookie James Jakes in his Dale Coyne pre-pared Dallara-Honda.
Raphael Matos heads the outside of row seven alongside “The Swiss Miss”. The AFS pilot will be aiming to keep up the strong display he showed at St Petersburg two weeks ago. Mike Conway (16th, Andretti-Autosport) will trail the Brazilian off the start, as will KV Racing’s EJ Viso (18th). Viso recovered from a Friday practice smash to pip the struggling four-time Champ Car title winner, Sebastien Bourdais (20th, Dale Coyne).
Danica Patrick (Andretti-Autosport) lines up 22nd ahead of former-teammate Tony Kanaan (24th, KV Racing). Sebastian Saavedra (Conquest) starts from 26th and last.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Will Power Penske 1m11.4546s 2. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m11.7361s + 0.2815s 3. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m11.8826s + 0.4280s 4. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m12.1247s + 0.6701s 5. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m12.3085s + 0.8539s 6. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas 1m12.4394s + 0.9848s Q2 7. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m11.7090s 8. James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas 1m11.8183s 9. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m11.8672s 10. Graham Rahal Ganassi 1m11.9712s 11. Takuma Sato KV 1m12.1667s 12. Alex Tagliani Schmidt 1m12.3485s Q1(Group 1, Inside lane; Group 2 Outside lane) 13. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m12.2559s 14. Raphael Matos AFS 1m12.4094s 15. JR Hildebrand Panther 1m12.2684s 16. Mike Conway Andretti 1m12.5191s 17. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m12.3370s 18. EJ Viso KV 1m12.6582s 19. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m12.5677s 20. Sebastien Bourdais Coyne 1m12.6896s 21. Charlie Kimball Ganassi 1m12.5857s 22. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m12.7257s 23. Simon Pagenaud Dreyer & Reinbold 1m12.5900s 24. Tony Kanaan KV 1m12.8892s 25. James Jakes Coyne 1m12.7147s 26. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 1m13.0858s