Dixon beats Castroneves to pole
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, August 30th 2008, 17:07 GMT|
Scott Dixon moved a step closer to clinching the IRL IndyCar Series title by beating his sole remaining championship rival Helio Castroneves to pole in Detroit.
Ganassi driver Dixon dominated the Fast Six session that decided the leading positions, ultimately taking his sixth pole of the year by almost half a second.
Castroneves (Penske) tried in vain to get on terms with Dixon's time, but had to settle for the outside of the front row.
Oriol Servia claimed third for KV Racing, despite a wild spin at the end of qualifying, ahead of Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Justin Wilson. This was a remarkable result for Wilson considering he had nearly been eliminated in part one of qualifying. Only a last gasp lap saw him scrape through to the second session in 12th, as until that late effort he had been facing a tenth row start.
Ryan Briscoe put the second Penske entry fifth on the grid, alongside Wilson's teammate Graham Rahal.
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Rahal Letterman Racing) and Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green) narrowly missed the Fast Six cut and will share row four, ahead of HVM's EJ Viso, whose session was ended by a suspension failure, but not before he had earned his best starting position yet. Danica Patrick completed the top ten in the second-best AGR car.
Both Ganassi's Dan Wheldon and KV Racing's Will Power broke their rear suspension on the Turn 3 wall in first qualifying, yet were able to reach the top 12 session using their existing times. Only Wheldon managed to get back out in time for the second session though, and he had to settle for 11th place.
They still fared better than Tomas Scheckter (Luczo Dragon) and Bruno Junqueira (Dale Coyne), who had heavy accidents in the first segment - Scheckter's before he had even set a time. Junqueira was quick enough to reach part two of qualifying when he spun into the wall on the exit of Turn 2, but with his best times deleted for causing a stoppage, he tumbled to the tail of the field.
Marco Andretti's underwhelming weekend continued as his AGR car was eliminated at the first hurdle, while Alex Tagliani will start 21st for his surprise IRL IndyCar Series debut. The Canadian was another driver to lose his best times for prompting a full course yellow, having spun and blocked the track at Turn 3.
Following his string of practice accidents, Marty Roth has withdrawn from the Detroit event on the advice of series officials.
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1:12.2861 2. Helio Castroneves Penske 1:12.7649 3. Oriol Servia KV 1:12.9618 4. Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1:13.0530 5. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1:13.1004 6. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1:13.6464 7. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman 1:12.9511 8. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 1:13.2339 9. EJ Viso HVM 1:13.5354 10. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 1:13.9158 11. Dan Wheldon Ganassi 1:13.9267 12. Will Power KV no time 13. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 1:14.1623 14. Vitor Meira Panther 1:13.6678 15. Darren Manning Foyt 1:14.2619 16. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 1:13.9010 17. AJ Foyt IV Vision 1:14.3486 18. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold 1:15.0969 19. Mario Moraes Dale Coyne 1:14.4841 20. Ed Carpenter Vision 1:15.3061 21. Alex Tagliani Conquest 1:16.6407 22. Jaime Camara Conquest 1:16.7047 23. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 1:19.0865 24. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne 1:22.3955 25. Tomas Scheckter Luczo Dragon no time