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