Indianapolis road course IndyCar: Power denies Wickens pole

Tom Errington
Autosport
Power denies Wickens Indy road course pole
Power denies Wickens Indy road course pole

Penske's Will Power took his third IndyCar career pole position on the Indianapolis road course, overcoming a late challenge from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Robert Wickens.

Wickens had comfortably topped group one qualifying and both he and Power eased through the top 12 into the fast six.

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Their battle intensified after Power completed a one-lap tour on red scuffed tyres before switching to another used alternate set of tyres.

Wickens had initially jumped to the top of the times, but Power responded with a benchmark of 1m09.8182s.

The SPM driver hit back but fell 0.0870 seconds short of Power to seal second on the grid, and admitted to being "gutted" to miss out after what he called a scruffy lap.

Dale Coyne Racing's Sebastien Bourdais figured in the fight for pole but ended the fast six in third ahead of SPM's James Hinchcliffe.

Jordan King was an impressive fifth for Ed Carpenter Racing, having recovered from a brake problem that restricted his group one running and required a late dash into the 12-car session.

He then made a late lap good enough to secure a place in the top six, with a similar effort enough to allow Josef Newgarden into the final stage.

The 2017 IndyCar champion will start Saturday's race in sixth, having bumped team-mate Penske Simon Pagenaud down to seventh with his late surge.

Pagenaud believes he has now made a breakthrough in the "feeling" of his Penske-run car, and he will start ahead of Andretti's Alexander Rossi.

Power denies Wickens Indy road course pole
Power denies Wickens Indy road course pole

ECR's Spencer Pigot was ninth ahead of the returning Helio Castroneves (pictured), who showed glimpses of promise with fifth in group one qualifying on the slower black tyres - the only driver to use them.

But Castroneves earned a five-minute penalty for Saturday's warm-up because he took the chequered flag twice.

Last year's Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato began his Month of May defence with 11th for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing ahead of Tony Kanaan.

Ryan Hunter-Reay could only take 13th after complaining of balance issues in his Andretti-prepared car.

Chip Ganassi Racing's struggles continued with Ed Jones and Scott Dixon unable to get out of their groups, leaving them starting 15th and 18th respectively.

Zachary Claman de Melo returned to IndyCar early as a stand-in for the injured DCR team-mate Pietro Fittipaldi and failed to advance from his group, qualifying 19th.

Starting grid

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Time

Gap

1

Will Power

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m09.8182s

-

2

Robert Wickens

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

1m09.9052s

0.0870s

3

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

1m09.9449s

0.1267s

4

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

1m10.0858s

0.2676s

5

Jordan King

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.1326s

0.3144s

6

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.7276s

0.9094s

7

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.0382s

-

8

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m10.1062s

-

9

Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.1601s

-

10

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.1847s

-

11

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

1m10.1979s

-

12

Tony Kanaan

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.3592s

-

13

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m10.0985s

-

14

Marco Andretti

Andretti Herta

Dallara/Honda

1m10.1044s

-

15

Ed Jones

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

1m10.2859s

-

16

Max Chilton

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.2113s

-

17

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

1m10.3605s

-

18

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

1m10.3221s

-

19

Zachary Claman

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

1m10.5064s

-

20

Zach Veach

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m10.3371s

-

21

Matheus Leist

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.6425s

-

22

Gabby Chaves

Harding Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.5066s

-

23

Charlie Kimball

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.7784s

-

24

Kyle Kaiser

Juncos Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m10.7394s

-

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