Dixon rises above wild Baltimore IndyCar qualifying

Dixon rises above wild Baltimore IndyCar qualifying


Dixon rises above wild Baltimore IndyCar qualifying


Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon made the most of a dramatic qualifying session to beat Will Power to pole position for Sunday’s IndyCar race in Baltimore.

Power held provisional pole by 0.3 second with less than a minute remaining, only for Dixon to beat him with his final flying lap. The Penske driver still had one opportunity to reclaim the advantage, but that hope was dashed when he made a mistake in the middle of the hairpin.

Dixon was fortunate to be in the Fast Six in the first place. The New Zealander was initially classified seventh in the second qualifying phase, which would have seen him eliminated had Graham Rahal not gone into the tires at Turn 8. Race control initially tried to manage the incident with a local yellow, but when Tristan Vautier ran into the rear of Rahal’s stricken car a few moments later, the session was red-flagged. Rahal was consequently docked his best lap time after being deemed responsible for the stoppage, thereby promoting Dixon to sixth.

“We had a sensor failure in Q2, which almost knocked us out. Big thanks to Honda for figuring it out and fixing that in Q3,” Dixon noted. “The car’s been quick all week. I actually made a few mistakes on that lap and we were still able to pull it out. It’s a good place to start here at Baltimore. It’s going to be a tight race.” 

“It was a tough qualifying man, but we gave it everything we had in the Verizon Team Penske Chevy,” said Power. “Our chance to get pole really came the lap before our final lap but we just couldn’t get there. It should be a good race. With the chicanes (after Turn 12), especially, there could be a lot of action and I expect it will be another good battle.” 

Vautier escaped punishment, and remarkably, escaped with damage so minor that he was able to participate in the Fast Six a couple of minutes later.

Also of significance was the fact that both of Dixon’s main championship rivals were knocked out of the second qualifying phase, meaning that Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be forced to start several rows behind the Ganassi driver. In their absence the remaining places on the first three rows were claimed by Simon Pagenaud, Justin Wilson, Josef Newgarden and Vautier.

Both Sebastien Bourdais and EJ Viso’s sessions were curtailed by damage sustained through getting things wrong at the chicane. The latter’s contact with the outside wall also left the track covered with debris that comprised the runs for other drivers late in the first phase.

It was also a tough afternoon for Dario Franchitti, who was eliminated early after struggling with a car that he said “felt decent, but just wasn’t fast enough.”

Pos  Driver               Team/Engine        Time        Gap 1.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi/Honda      1m18.0838s 2.  Will Power           Penske/Chevy       1m18.1171s  +0.0333s 3.  Simon Pagenaud       Schmidt/Honda      1m18.4307s  +0.3469s 4.  Justin Wilson        Coyne/Honda        1m18.8698s  +0.7860s 5.  Josef Newgarden      Fisher/Honda       1m18.9022s  +0.8184s 6.  Tristan Vautier      Schmidt/Honda      1m19.0380s  +0.9542s 7.  Helio Castroneves    Penske/Chevy       1m19.0288s  Round 2 8.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti/Chevy     1m19.0367s  Round 2 9.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi/Honda      1m19.0523s  Round 210.  Takuma Sato          Foyt/Honda         1m19.2216s  Round 211.  James Hinchcliffe    Andretti/Chevy     1m19.3182s  Round 212.  Graham Rahal         Rahal/Honda        1m22.2045s  Round 213.  James Jakes          Rahal/Honda        1m18.6398s  Group 114.  Luca Filippi         Barracuda/Honda    1m19.1242s  Group 215.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi/Honda      1m18.6694s  Group 116.  Tony Kanaan          KV/Chevy           1m19.3051s  Group 217.  Oriol Servia         Panther/Chevy      1m18.8075s  Group 118.  Marco Andretti       Andretti/Chevy     1m19.4738s  Group 219.  Simona de Silvestro  KV/Chevy           1m18.9829s  Group 120.  Ed Carpenter         Carpenter/Chevy    1m20.5694s  Group 221.  Sebastian Saavedra   Dragon/Chevy       1m19.2440s  Group 122.  EJ Viso              Andretti/Chevy                 Group 223.  Stefan Wilson        Coyne/Honda        1m20.1871s  Group 124.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dragon/Chevy                   Group 2

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