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Houston IndyCar: Simon Pagenaud takes first career pole

Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt, Houston IndyCar 2014

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
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