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Detroit IndyCar: Takuma Sato secures pole for AJ Foyt Racing

Takuma Sato will start the second of this weekend's IndyCar races in Detroit from pole position after triumphing in a dramatic qualifying session on Belle Isle on Sunday.

The second qualifying group, which included Sato, only had four minutes of green flag time at the end of their session due to a red flag.

With the circuit improving with every lap, there was a distinct advantage for those who managed to time final run properly, and Sato was one of several drivers to make substantial gains in the final few seconds.

The AJ Foyt driver's pole lap of 1m16.1371s beat what looked like a fairly strong benchmark of 1m16.3739s set by James Hinchcliffe from the first group.

Sato's success came at the expense of Helio Castroneves, who appeared to have secured a clean-sweep of poles for the weekend until the final moments, with Mike Conway set to join the Brazilian on the second row.

Graham Rahal, who finished a close second to Will Power on Saturday, opted to qualify on a set of scrubbed reds and save a new set for the race, a strategy that leaves him starting from 14th behind Justin Wilson.

But the real stories of the weekend are even further back, with the two most recent champions preparing to start from the last row.

Scott Dixon was well off the pace in the first group, while Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed heavily at the start of the second group's session, bringing out the red flags that set up the manic finish a few minutes later.

"It just snapped out and I couldn't catch it," said the Indy 500 winner. "Got caught out by the colder temps. Totally my fault."

Pos  Driver              Team/Engine      Time               
 1.  Takuma Sato         Foyt/Honda       1m16.1371s  Group 2
 2.  James Hinchcliffe   Andretti/Honda   1m16.3739s  Group 1
 3.  Helio Castroneves   Penske/Chevy     1m16.3624s  Group 2
 4.  Mike Conway         Carpenter/Chevy  1m16.8580s  Group 1
 5.  Ryan Briscoe        Ganassi/Chevy    1m16.5382s  Group 2
 6.  Carlos Munoz        Andretti/Honda   1m16.9340s  Group 1
 7.  Simon Pagenaud      Schmidt/Honda    1m16.8539s  Group 2
 8.  Will Power          Penske/Chevy     1m17.0297s  Round 1
 9.  Sebastian Saavedra  KV/Chevy         1m17.0688s  Group 2
10.  Josef Newgarden     Fisher/Honda     1m17.1310s  Group 1
11.  Sebastien Bourdais  KV/Chevy         1m17.1155s  Group 2
12.  Carlos Huertas      Coyne/Honda      1m17.4651s  Group 1
13.  Justin Wilson       Coyne/Honda      1m17.1660s  Group 2
14.  Graham Rahal        Rahal/Honda      1m17.5948s  Group 1
15.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Penske/Chevy     1m17.2979s  Group 2
16.  Mikhail Aleshin     Schmidt/Honda    1m18.1119s  Group 1
17.  Tony Kanaan         Ganassi/Chevy    1m17.3386s  Group 2
18.  Marco Andretti      Andretti/Honda   1m18.1820s  Group 1
19.  Jack Hawksworth     Herta/Honda      1m17.4172s  Group 2
20.  Charlie Kimball     Ganassi/Chevy    1m18.1871s  Group 1
21.  Ryan Hunter-Reay    Andretti/Honda   No time     Group 2
22.  Scott Dixon         Ganassi/Chevy    1m19.4557s  Group 1
All drivers use Dallara chassis                              
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