Long Beach IndyCar: Ryan Hunter-Reay claims pole with last-gasp lap
|By Mark Glendenning||Saturday, April 12th 2014, 21:34 GMT|
Last-gasp flying laps from Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe secured an all-Andretti Autosport front row for Sunday's Long Beach IndyCar race.
With less than a minute remaining on the clock, the provisional pole was in the hands of Sebastien Bourdais, however the Frenchman had no opportunity to respond when first Hinchcliffe and then Hunter-Reay managed to go quicker.
Hunter-Reay's pole lap of 1m07.8219s represented a 0.1 second improvement on his team-mate's time; the Canadian in turn having beaten Bourdais by just 0.07s.
Josef Newgarden will start alongside Bourdais on the second row, with a stellar effort from rookie Jack Hawksworth placing the Brit fifth on the grid ahead of Simon Pagenaud.
The intensity of the competition claimed some unexpected early scalps.
During the 12-car run-off, Scott Dixon was bumped out of the Fast Six by Hawksworth, and the Kiwi was joined in his early exit by the likes of Helio Castroneves, Justin Wilson and Marco Andretti.
Even more shocking was the roll call of those who had already been eliminated by that point.
Will Power failed to progress from Q1 for just the second time in his career, and he was joined in his misery by Mike Conway, who had been quick during the earlier phases of the weekend.
Ganassi sustained three early casualties, with Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe and Charlie Kimball all being eliminated in the first stage.
Last year's race winner Takuma Sato also exited early, and his misfortune was compounded when he was docked his two fastest times for interfering with Hunter-Reay.
It was also a short afternoon for Juan Pablo Montoya, who was unable to match his early weekend pace on the harder tyres once he switched to the options.
His final flying lap was scotched when he bounced off the wall at Turn 4, but even had he kept it on the track he would have needed to find a lot of time to progress to the second round.
Follow the Long Beach IndyCar race as it happens on AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live from 9.30pm UK time on Sunday April 13
Pos Driver Team/Engine Time Gap 1. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Honda 1m07.8219s 2. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Honda 1m07.9403s +0.1184s 3. Sebastien Bourdais KV/Chevy 1m07.9580s +0.1361s 4. Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda 1m08.0097s +0.1878s 5. Jack Hawksworth Herta/Honda 1m08.0525s +0.2306s 6. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda 1m08.0732s +0.2513s 7. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Chevy 1m07.9981s Round 2 8. Marco Andretti Andretti/Honda 1m08.0179s Round 2 9. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy 1m08.1119s Round 2 10. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda 1m08.1218s Round 2 11. Carlos Munoz Andretti/Honda 1m08.1506s Round 2 12. Oriol Servia Rahal/Honda 1m08.3532s Round 2 13. Tony Kanaan Ganassi/Chevy 1m08.4424s Group 1 14. Will Power Penske/Chevy 1m08.1159s Group 2 15. Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 1m08.5660s Group 1 16. Juan Pablo Montoya Penske/Chevy 1m08.3649s Group 2 17. Mike Conway Carpenter/Chevy 1m08.5702s Group 1 18. Ryan Briscoe Ganassi/Chevy 1m08.3699s Group 2 19. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Chevy 1m08.6507s Group 1 20. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt/Honda 1m08.4321s Group 2 21. Carlos Huertas Coyne/Honda 1m08.7051s Group 1 22. Sebastian Saavedra KV/Chevy 1m08.9619s Group 2 23. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda 1m09.0562s Group 2