Houston IndyCar: Simon Pagenaud takes first career pole
|By Mark Glendenning||Saturday, June 28th 2014, 16:33 GMT|
Simon Pagenaud will start the first race of the Houston IndyCar double-header from pole after narrowly edging Helio Castroneves in a topsy-turvy qualifying session on the Reliant Part street circuit.
Pagenaud claimed the top spot with a 59.3716s lap set right at the end of the session, putting himself just 0.07s clear of Castroneves.
"It's awesome for the team," said Pagenaud of his first career IndyCar pole.
"We've been knocking on the door. Racing is all about being the fastest guy, and today that's us.
"But we've got a race this afternoon. If we can carry our speed through, we should be in really good shape."
Six different teams are represented in the first three rows, with Ganassi's Scott Dixon to share the second row with Rahal Letterman Lanigan surprise package Luca Filippi, and Andretti's James Hinchcliffe joining Takuma Sato on row three.
As is often the case, the story was as much about the failures as it was the successes.
Several of the usual leading lights faltered early, including Ganassi's Tony Kanaan, who will start from the final row alongside Carlos Munoz, and Will Power, who was one of several drivers to go in the wrong direction with his set-up and will line up 18th.
The Australian suffered a similar qualifying mishap in Detroit and went on to win the race, but he downplayed his chances of repeating the trick this time around.
"It's a more difficult track to come from the back," he said. "But you know what IndyCar races are like - anything can happen. We just have to play it smart and see what happens."
Pos Driver Team/Engine Time Gap 1. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda 59.3716s 2. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy 59.4463s +0.0747s 3. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Chevy 59.5034s +0.1318s 4. Luca Filippi Rahal/Honda 59.5523s +0.1807s 5. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Honda 59.6528s +0.2812s 6. Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 1m00.4037s +1.0321s 7. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda 59.4245s Round 2 8. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Honda 59.5107s Round 2 9. Sebastien Bourdais KV/Chevy 59.6126s Round 2 10. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt/Honda 59.7003s Round 2 11. Juan Pablo Montoya Penske/Chevy 59.9649s Round 2 12. Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda 1m00.0312s Round 2 13. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Chevy 1m00.1291s Group 1 14. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda 1m00.2491s Group 2 15. Ryan Briscoe Ganassi/Chevy 1m00.2124s Group 1 16. Marco Andretti Andretti/Honda 1m00.3295s Group 2 17. Mike Conway Carpenter/Chevy 1m00.2358s Group 1 18. Will Power Penske/Chevy 1m00.3670s Group 2 19. Carlos Huertas Coyne/Honda 1m00.3106s Group 1 20. Sebastian Saavedra KV/Chevy 1m00.4224s Group 2 21. Jack Hawksworth Herta/Honda 1m00.4203s Group 1 22. Tony Kanaan Ganassi/Chevy 1m00.6919s Group 2 23. Carlos Munoz Andretti/Honda 1m00.4734s Group 2