Detroit IndyCar: Rahal scores pole, Castroneves penalized

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Detroit IndyCar: Rahal scores pole, Castroneves penalized
David Malsher
By: David Malsher
Jun 3, 2017, 3:10 PM

Graham Rahal scored his first IndyCar pole position in eight years, when he set second fastest time in today’s qualifying sessions but saw Helio Castroneves lose his fastest lap for not slowing for a yellow flag.

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda chats with Honda's Art St. Cyr
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske Chevrolet
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Esteban Gutierrez, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

With IndyCar’s usual qualifying format put aside, the field was divided in half and each group of 11 got 12mins on track. Rahal’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda topped the first group with a 1min13.9681sec lap on his final attempt to beat Indy 500 Takuma Sato’s Andretti Autosport-Honda by 0.0747sec.

Behind came James Hinchcliffe of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda, followed by the three Penske-Chevrolets of Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden who made a tactical blunder by starting on reds when the track was at its slowest and then switching to blacks. The remainder of the frontrunners did the reverse and Penske paid the price.

The fourth Penske entry, which was in the second half of the session, benefited from that knowledge and so Castroneves duly delivered a time a tenth under Rahal’s best. However, officials ruled that the #3 didn’t slow sufficiently for Mikhail Aleshin’s spun Schmidt Peterson machine, and so he lost his fast time, relegating him to second on the grid, and all others in the session to the even-numbered qualifying positions.

Thus the grid will line up with Rahal ahead of Castroneves, followed by Sato alongside Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi who did a fine job recovering from his shunt yesterday.

The third row will comprise Hinchcliffe and Scott Dixon in the first of the Chip Ganassi Racing-Hondas, the fourth will see reigning series champion Pagenaud alongside the impressive Max Chilton, and the fifth puts Newgarden beside a third Ganassi, that of Charlie Kimball.

Row six will contain a pair of series champions Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Spencer Pigot sideswiped the wall during his run, but by virtue of being in the faster group, will start ahead of his Ed Carpenter Racing teammate JR Hildebrand, despite his best being 0.4sec slower. 

F1 and Formula E refugee Esteban Gutierrez did an excellent job to finish just 1.65sec off Rahal’s best, and outqualify new Dale Coyne Racing-Honda teammate Ed Jones by 0.2sec.

Qualifying results:

Pos.DriverTimeGapMph
1 15 united_states  Graham Rahal  1'13.9681   114.374
2 3 brazil  Helio Castroneves  1'14.0414 0.0733 114.260
3 26 japan  Takuma Sato  1'14.0428 0.0747 114.258
4 98 united_states  Alexander Rossi  1'14.0875 0.1194 114.189
5 5 canada  James Hinchcliffe  1'14.1801 0.2120 114.047
6 9 new_zealand  Scott Dixon  1'14.2855 0.3174 113.885
7 1 france  Simon Pagenaud  1'14.3150 0.3469 113.840
8 8 united_kingdom  Max Chilton  1'14.9991 1.0310 112.801
9 2 united_states  Josef Newgarden  1'14.3805 0.4124 113.739
10 83 united_states  Charlie Kimball  1'15.0664 1.0983 112.700
11 12 australia  Will Power  1'14.6312 0.6631 113.357
12 28 united_states  Ryan Hunter-Reay  1'15.0991 1.1310 112.651
13 27 united_states  Marco Andretti  1'14.6719 0.7038 113.296
14 14 colombia  Carlos Munoz  1'15.2060 1.2379 112.491
15 10 brazil  Tony Kanaan  1'15.2668 1.2987 112.400
16 4 united_states  Conor Daly  1'15.2228 1.2547 112.466
17 20 united_states  Spencer Pigot  1'15.6261 1.6580 111.866
18 21 united_states  J.R. Hildebrand  1'15.2334 1.2653 112.450
19 18 mexico  Esteban Gutierrez  1'15.6276 1.6595 111.864
20 7 russia  Mikhail Aleshin  1'14.8304 0.8623 113.056
21 19 united_arab_emirates  Ed Jones  1'15.8343 1.8662 111.559
22 16 spain  Oriol Servia  1'15.2758 1.3077 112.387
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