Will Power secured his fourth consecutive pole position and Roger Penske’s 200th pole as an owner at the street circuit in Sao Paulo yesterday.
The Australian finished the final session with a gap of four-tenths over Andretti-Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, with Scott Dixon (Ganassi) and Ryan Briscoe (Penske) occupying the second row.
Ganassi pairing Graham Rahal and Dario Franchitti drew up the rear in final qualifying stage.
Despite Power’s run of poles, the Penske man has only once converted them into a victory in 2011 – he will be looking for a good result today in order to jump back to the top of the championship standing.
Helio Castroneves was the big scalp at the end of the second period of qualifying. The three-time Indy 500 winner is the highest starting Brazilian with his 7th best time – he pipped Dreyer & Reinbold’s Justin Wilson and Mike Conway (Andretti-Autosport) by just a few hundredths.
Takuma Sato rounded out the top ten in his KV Racing machine. Sato headed James Hinchcliffe (11th, Newman-Haas) and Sebastien Bourdais (12th, Dale Coyne) as the chequered flag emerged.
Simona de Silvestro was the first out from the first group of qualifying 1 – the ‘Swiss Miss’ lines up 13th on the grid. The HVM pilot pitted early in the session with a “safe” time, only to drop out as the clock ran out.
Tony Kanaan (KV Racing) initially qualified 15th, but was later demoted six places on the grid following illegal changes made to his front wing during the session.
Marco Andretti (Andretti-Autosport), Danica Patrick (Andretti-Autosport), Raphael Matos (AFS), Sebastian Saavedra (Conquest) and Ana Beatriz (Dreyer & Reinbold) take up the inside lanes from rows eight to thirteen.
Vitor Meira only just missed out on the session part of qualifying. Although Meira just nudged ahead of Oriol Servia (16th, Newman-Haas), both fared far better than the following pack.
Indeed on the outside of row nine stands Ganassi’s Charlie Kimball – the debutante set a best lap nearly half-a-second outside of the cut-off point. Alex Tagliani pitted early in the session leaving him 20th, although the Canadian ran less than a tenth quicker than JR Hildebrand (22nd, Panther) and James Jakes (24th, Dale Coyne).
EJ Viso did not run in qualifying after a practice crash. The Venezuelan suffered arear brake failure, leaving the KV Racing pilot helpless on the way to his accident.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Will Power Penske 1m21.8958s 2. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m22.2975s + 0.4017s 3. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m22.3620s + 0.4662s 4. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m22.3937s + 0.4979s 5. Graham Rahal Ganassi 1m22.4970s + 0.6012s 6. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m22.6103s + 0.7145s 7. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m22.6283s (Round 2) 8. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m22.6471s (Round 2) 9. Mike Conway Andretti 1m22.6986s (Round 2) 10. Takuma Sato KV 1m22.7379s (Round 2) 11. James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas 1m22.8450s (Round 2) 12. Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne 1m22.9084s (Round 2) 13. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m23.6807s (Group 1) 14. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m23.3196s (Group 2) 15. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas 1m23.4015s (Group 2) 16. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m23.7682s (Group 1) 17. Charlie Kimball Ganassi 1m23.7126s (Group 2) 18. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m24.0967s (Group 1) 19. Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt 1m23.7801s (Group 2) 20. Raphael Matos AFS 1m24.1890s (Group 1) 21. Tony Kanaan KV 1m23.6838s (Group 1) 22. JR Hildebrand Panther 1m23.8443s (Group 2) 23. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 1m24.2963s (Group 1) 24. James Jakes Dale Coyne 1m23.8482s (Group 2) 25. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold 1m24.8246s (Group 1) 26. EJ Viso KV (Group 2)