Will Power looked arguably the slowest of the four Team Penske-Chevrolet drivers through practice for the Honda Indy Toronto and only third best through the first two qualifying segments, but he dug deep and nailed his fifth pole position of the year in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.
The reigning IndyCar champion who now lies 34 points behind his teammate Juan Pablo Montoya in the championship standings after a disastrous run at Texas Motor Speedway, lapped Toronto’s bumpy 1.755-mile course in 59.4280sec. His last two laps were fast enough to take pole, his final run eclipsing the best his teammate Simon Pagenaud could throw at him by a mere 0.18sec.
Said Power: “I figured I’d be fourth or fifth, didn’t think I had a shot at the pole and Simon had new tires so I thought I was cooked. But I used Montoya’s setup and pulled it off at the end. Pretty sweet. It feels good, our fifth pole of the year. But we need a good result because the last two races have been pretty rough.”
Of the thumb he broke in the Detroit shunt with Tristan Vautier, Power said: “It’s not too bad when you’re out there concentrating. I taped it up a little but I can live with it.” He seemed more concerned with Chevrolet’s continued dominance. “I don’t think it’s good for the series to have a split field. Qualifying just seems easier this year and I think it’s because half the field are Hondas.”
Pagenaud commented: “Damn Will, I thought I had pole but he’s a tough one. It just feels good to get back in my street course groove.”
If the margin between those two sounds close, Indy 500 winner Montoya was only 0.0147 behind Pagenaud, yet more than a quarter second clear of Scott Dixon in the first of the Chip Ganassi Racing-Chevrolets. Dixon, who’s carrying Jurassic World livery this weekend, said: “I felt like I was driving a dinosaur – it’s a little rough out there. We made wholesale changes every session so we’re gaining. Chevrolet has done a fantastic job.”
One of last year’s Toronto winners – and a winner a couple weeks ago in Detroit – was KVSH Racing ace Sebastien Bourdais. He was 0.3sec faster than surprise Firestone Fast Six presence, Luca Filippi in the CFH Racing Chevy.
The fourth Penske entrant, Helio Castroneves, was seventh, edging Takuma Sato in the fastest of the Honda-powered cars. The AJ Foyt Racing driver was eighth just ahead of Tony Kanaan (Ganassi) and Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda).
James Jakes got through to Q2 at the expense of Sebastian Saavedra in the No. 8 Ganassi entry who did a great job in Q1 to go fourth fastest, but then lost his top time by going straight on at Turn 1 as he locked up his tires.
None of the Andretti Autosport-Honda trio made it into the top dozen, despite some spectacular efforts from all three.
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