IRL: Dixon inherits pole at Motegi

IRL: Dixon inherits pole at Motegi

MOTEGI, Japan (April 12, 2003) -- Qualifying for Sunday's Bridgestone Japan Indy 300 was rained out forcing IndyCar Series officials to set the starting grid based on combined practice times. Scott Dixon will start from the pole position based...

MOTEGI, Japan (April 12, 2003) -- Qualifying for Sunday's Bridgestone Japan Indy 300 was rained out forcing IndyCar Series officials to set the starting grid based on combined practice times.

Scott Dixon will start from the pole position based on his lap of 206.996 mph set Friday afternoon. Tony Kanaan, who turned a lap at 206.484 mph on Saturday morning, will start second.

Scott Dixon.
Photo by indyracing.com/Ron McQueeney.
Setting the starting grid based on practice times is a new rule for the Indy Racing League in 2003. In prior seasons the grid was set by entrant points when qualifying could not be completed. Dixon will not receive the $10,000 cash award or the MBNA pole award since qualifying was canceled.

Intermittent showers halted qualifying after five drivers completed their runs. Al Unser Jr., who was in the middle of his run when qualifying was stopped, did not post a time. Attempts were made to keep track dry by circulating track vehicles but showers intensified forcing cancellation.

Of the five drivers completing qualifying runs, Dan Wheldon set the best lap after averaging 204.399 mph (26.7712 seconds) around the 1.52-mile circuit. Wheldon will start fifth base on his lap (206.020 mph) set Saturday morning.

The second row will be comprised of Japanese driver Tora Takagi and the young South African Tomas Scheckter. Both drivers set their best lap this morning.

Kenny Brack will start on the outside of row three, alongside Wheldon.

Rounding out the top ten were Scott Sharp, Al Unser, Jr., Felipe Giaffone, and Michael Andretti.

Buddy Rice was involved in the only incident of the day when he brushed the turn four wall. Rice, who was uninjured, jumped into his backup car and completed the session.

The final practice session, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, will be held at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Michael Andretti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Al Unser