Will Power will start Sunday’s Toronto IndyCar race from pole position, ahead of Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Power, driving the No.1 Penske Chevrolet, produced a best lap of 59.4280s on his seventh and final lap to beat teammate Simon Pagenaud’s No.22, which pulled out a 59.6095-second tour.
Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya took third place in Firestone Fast Six qualifying with his lap of 59.6242s, making it a Penske 1-2-3.
Scott Dixon earned fourth in a black, Jurassic Park-themed No.9 Chevrolet at 59.8879s (on his final lap), followed by the winner of last year’s first double-header race, Sebastien Bourdais (59.9021s) in his No.11 Chevy and Luca Filippi, bringing CFHR to its first Firestone Fast Six of the season at 1:00.2312s.
This was an all-Chevrolet final shootout.
Full story of qualifying
On the increasingly-bumpy streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place (winter has a way of giving this racetrack some interesting patina), the 23 Indy cars took their initial turns with two qualifying groups. The first qualifying group ran cleanly with the Chevrolet-powered cars of Pagenaud, Montoya, Power, Bourdais, Filippi and James Jakes’ Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda advancing.
In the second, sun-filled qualifying group, there was a red flag with just over 7 minutes of the 10 allotted complete, when the No.18 Honda of Rodolfo Gonzalez clouted the wall exiting the first turn.
That allowed Tony Kanaan, Dixon, Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden to advance. Rahal and Sato were the two Honda interlopers in this particular Chevrolet party.
The knock-out session
Then it was on to the second, 12-driver knockout session, where Montoya was quickest, followed by Pagenaud, Power (at the last second), Bourdais, Dixon and Filippi, with Power knocking out Castroneves at the last moment.
Surprisingly, Rahal was tenth in this group, never finding a rhythm over the bumps; he starts 10th on Sunday. “We would like to settle the rear down a little,” he said.
Power delighted with pole
After accepting his most recent pole position sticker for his rear-wing endplate, Power acknowledged that he tried everything leading up to the Firestone Fast Six.
“That last setup was pretty good,” he said. “We went more toward what Montoya had and it worked out for us.” Power expects most of the action to occur in the usual spots – the first and third turns – during Sunday’s race.
Pagenaud acknowledged that his team has concentrated on setting up their car for the race and used new Firestone alternate (red) tires only for the Firestone Fast Six shootout.
While Team Penske has dominated qualifying this year with its four-car team, they haven’t always been able to transfer that on race day, the most recent victory coming from Montoya in the 99th Indianapolis 500.
Still, the Colombian has control of the points battle, with Power gaining a point on his teammate with this pole.
The weather in Toronto looks to hold for Sunday’s scheduled 85-lap race. Today’s qualifying sessions took place after a half-hour delay due to track repairs following the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race and an early accident in the Pro Mazda contest.
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