Franchitti leads Ganassi team's Sonoma IndyCar 1-2 qualifying sweep

Franchitti leads Ganassi team's Sonoma IndyCar 1-2 qualifying sweep


Franchitti leads Ganassi team's Sonoma IndyCar 1-2 qualifying sweep


Dario Franchitti will lead an all-Target Chip Ganassi Racing front row for IndyCar’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma after triumphing in qualifying. The Scot had a new set of red tires saved for the final qualifying phase and he made the most of them, posting a 1m17.5271s that proved strong enough to withstand Scott Dixon’s best time by 0.19s.

“In Q1 we just did the one lap on the reds, and it was a pretty good time,” said Franchitti. “So they brought me in and we thought there was a lot of good still left in the tires, so we put them on again for the second run and the car was good again.

“I made a couple of mistakes, so I was surprised to be so close to the guys on the new reds. Then we had the new reds on for the Fast Six — which is just as well, because I totally screwed up Turn 6 on both laps.”

Will Power will start from third alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay, leaving championship leader Helio Castroneves and Charlie Kimball to complete row three.

Aside from Franchitti’s tire gamble, the story of the afternoon was the wind, which had completely changed direction from the earlier practice session. According to Hunter-Reay, the effect was enormous.

“It’s massive,” he said. “It surprised me. It’s more like the wind effect at an oval. Here, the wind goes one way and the car’s hooked up; it goes the other way, and you’re out to lunch.

“It’s a different racetrack,” he added. “Different turning points, different braking points… it’s amazing how much it changes.”

Castroneves, meanwhile, was in danger of not making the Fast Six in the first place; the Brazilian only bumping Justin Wilson from sixth in the final seconds of the second segment.

Pos  Driver               Team/Engine      Time        Gap 1.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi/Honda    1m17.5271s 2.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda    1m17.7196s  +0.1925s 3.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy     1m17.9735s  +0.4464s 4.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy   1m18.1314s  +0.6043s 5.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy     1m18.1766s  +0.6495s 6.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda    1m18.2009s  +0.6738s 7.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda      1m18.2138s  Round 2 8.  Graham Rahal         Rahal/Honda      1m18.3051s  Round 2 9.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy   1m18.3135s  Round 210.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda    1m18.3787s  Round 211.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy   1m18.6230s  Round 212.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy     1m26.7515s  Round 213.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda       1m18.9164s  Group 114.  Tristan Vautier      Schmidt/Honda    1m18.3141s  Group 215.  EJ Viso              Andretti/Chevy   1m18.9344s  Group 116.  Tony Kanaan          KV/Chevy         1m18.3318s  Group 217.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher/Honda     1m19.0094s  Group 118.  JR Hildebrand        Barracuda/Honda  1m18.7114s  Group 219.  James Jakes          Rahal/Honda      1m19.1563s  Group 120.  Sebastian Saavedra   Dragon/Chevy     1m18.8967s  Group 221.  James Davison        Coyne/Honda      1m19.5285s  Group 122.  Ryan Briscoe         Panther/Chevy    1m18.9743s  Group 223.  Simona de Silvestro  KV/Chevy         1m19.5298s  Group 124.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy  1m19.2376s  Group 225.  Lucas Luhr           Fisher/Honda     1m19.9805s  Group 2