Pocono IndyCar: Juan Pablo Montoya takes first pole of 2014
|By Mark Glendenning||Saturday, July 5th 2014, 22:57 GMT|
Juan Pablo Montoya beat IndyCar team-mate Will Power to secure his first pole position since his single-seater comeback with a superb qualifying performance at Pocono on Saturday.
Montoya drew the final qualifying slot, and took to the track needing to beat a formidable 223.725mph average that Power had laid down a short time earlier.
At the time, the Australian's benchmark was a full mile per hour faster than anyone else had managed, but the Colombian delivered a 223.920mph opening lap backed up by a 223.822mph the second time around to earn an average speed of 223.871mph, further lowering the lap record set by Power earlier in the day.
"I'm so proud to be with Team Penske, and to get this is huge," Montoya said.
"It's nice to get on pole; now we've got to get some wins. I think we've got a good car; let's see what it brings [tomorrow]."
On an afternoon where the track continued to improve throughout the session, Andretti Autosport's Carlos Munoz was second-last to run and drew upon the feedback from his three team-mates to finish up third fastest, with Takuma Sato set to join him on the second row of the grid.
Marco Andretti briefly looked placed to repeat his pole position from last year before eventually being bumped back to fifth, where he will line up alongside team-mate James Hinchcliffe.
Penske's Helio Castroneves believed that his starting position of seventh was a simple reflection of having drawn an earlier slot than his team-mates, but many of his rivals encountered all sorts of balance problems during their run, with gusty winds adding further complications.
"I think we left a bunch on the table today," said a frustrated Ed Carpenter after a run that ultimately left him back in 13th.
"I had to lift in Turn 1 on the first lap, so I wasn't expecting a good run. The wind was very challenging today."
Josef Newgarden failed to post a time after crashing in Turn 1 on his warm-up lap, while Jack Hawksworth was unable to participate in the session after crashing heavily in practice earlier in the day.
AUTOSPORT understands that his Bryan Herta Autosport team is looking into preparing its spare car for Sunday.
Pos Driver Team/Engine Average speed 1. Juan Pablo Montoya Penske/Chevy 223.871mph 2. Will Power Penske/Chevy 223.725mph 3. Carlos Munoz Andretti/Honda 223.083mph 4. Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 222.798mph 5. Marco Andretti Andretti/Honda 222.715mph 6. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Honda 222.544mph 7. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy 222.517mph 8. Tony Kanaan Ganassi/Chevy 221.970mph 9. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Honda 221.950mph 10. Ryan Briscoe Ganassi/Chevy 221.565mph 11. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda 221.547mph 12. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt/Honda 221.221mph 13. Ed Carpenter Carpenter/Chevy 221.019mph 14. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda 220.747mph 15. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Chevy 220.604mph 16. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda 220.439mph 17. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Chevy 220.377mph 18. Sebastien Bourdais KV/Chevy 219.741mph 19. Sebastian Saavedra KV/Chevy 218.502mph 20. Carlos Huertas Coyne/Honda 216.261mph 21. Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda - 22. Jack Hawksworth Herta/Honda -