Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Rossi earns brilliant one-shot pole

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Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Rossi earns brilliant one-shot pole
David Malsher
By: David Malsher
Jul 28, 2018, 6:56 PM

Alexander Rossi scored the fourth pole of his career and third of the season after completing just a single qualifying lap in the Firestone Fast Six, beating the best efforts of Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Will Power.

 

Rossi lapped the 2.258-mile course in 64.6802sec, an average speed of 125.677mph, to beat last year's  pole-winner Power by over 0.2sec, with Hunter-Reay a further 0.1sec off. Power will be making his 200th Indy car start tomorrow.

Defending race-winner Josef Newgarden was 0.4533sec off top spot, just 0.04sec ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Robert Wickens.

The biggest surprise was Max Chilton of Carlin Racing-Chevrolet earning sixth place in the team’s debut season. However, it’s not cruel to point out that while he performed well, Chilton’s promotion to Q3 was a direct result of circumstances in Q2 eliminating several more fancied runners.

Q2 saw James Hinchcliffe bring out the red flag with less than a minute to go with a spin and shunt, immediately after setting fastest time, losing his two best laps and dropping him to 10th. This brought this session to a premature conclusion, costing both Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda entries, Scott Dixon and Ed Jones, their last-gasp chances to advance, with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda entries of Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato suffering a similar fate.

However Dixon, who will start his 300th Indy car race tomorrow, said that a previous lap would have gotten him through but both he and Newgarden encountered a slowing Rossi, who was backing up, trying to make space for himself. However, after several minutes of official review, the Firestone Fast Six was allowed to stand as is, with Hinchcliffe’s demotion earning Robert Wickens a reprieve.

Despite being eliminated in Q1, Conor Daly excelled himself – and Harding Racing-Chevrolet’s expectations – clocking a 65.7260sec lap that ensures he will start 14th, alongside Marco Andretti who was bounced out of Q1 Group 1 in the dying seconds by teammate Zach Veach.

Charlie Kimball completed a strong day for Carlin Racing with 15th, two places ahead of Simon Pagenaud in the third Penske-Chevrolet, as the 2016 champion (and 2016 Mid-Ohio winner) struggled with rear-end grip.

Pietro Fittipaldi was 22nd in his first qualifying session since his Spa sportscar shunt, but amazingly that performance put him ahead of Dale Coyne Racing teammate Sebastien Bourdais who ruined his own chances by going off on his second lap on blacks, bringing out a red flag. The car nosed into the tire barrier at Turn 2, and it would have cost him his best lap times even if he’d had enough time for repairs. 

Mid-Ohio, IndyCar grid line-up

ClaDriverTimeGapMph
1 27 united_states  Alexander Rossi  1'04.6802   125.677
2 12 australia  Will Power  1'04.8939 0.2137 125.263
3 28 united_states  Ryan Hunter-Reay  1'04.9896 0.3094 125.078
4 1 united_states  Josef Newgarden  1'05.1335 0.4533 124.802
5 6 canada  Robert Wickens  1'05.1747 0.4945 124.723
6 59 united_kingdom  Max Chilton  1'06.6172 1.9370 122.023
7 15 united_states  Graham Rahal  1'06.1804 1.5002 122.828
8 30 japan  Takuma Sato  1'06.3755 1.6953 122.467
9 9 new_zealand  Scott Dixon  1'06.4187 1.7385 122.387
10 5 canada  James Hinchcliffe  1'06.5549 1.8747 122.137
11 10 united_arab_emirates  Ed Jones  1'07.0999 2.4197 121.145
12 26 united_states  Zach Veach  1'07.2287 2.5485 120.913
13 98 united_states  Marco Andretti  1'05.6353 0.9551 123.848
14 88 united_states  Conor Daly  1'05.7260 1.0458 123.677
15 23 united_states  Charlie Kimball  1'05.9471 1.2669 123.262
16 20 united_kingdom  Jordan King  1'05.7699 1.0897 123.595
17 22 france  Simon Pagenaud  1'05.9630 1.2828 123.233
18 21 united_states  Spencer Pigot  1'05.8133 1.1331 123.513
19 14 brazil  Tony Kanaan  1'06.0520 1.3718 123.067
20 60 united_kingdom  Jack Harvey  1'05.9911 1.3109 123.180
21 4 brazil  Matheus Leist  1'06.7354 2.0552 121.806
22 19 brazil  Pietro Fittipaldi  1'06.2138 1.5336 122.766
23 32 austria  Rene Binder  1'06.9555 2.2753 121.406
24 18 france  Sébastien Bourdais  No Time   No Speed
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About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Mid-Ohio
Location Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Author David Malsher