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Briscoe claims pole at Kansas

Ryan Briscoe, Penske, Kansas 2010Ryan Briscoe beat Scott Dixon to pole by a comfortable margin in qualifying for the IndyCar Series' first oval round of 2010 at Kansas.

The Penske driver had been second to Dixon (Ganassi) in the delayed practice session, which had started four and a half hours later than planned and been amalgamated from first one-hour sessions to a single 105-minute practice due to early rain.

But when it mattered in qualifying it was Briscoe who had the edge, out-pacing Dixon by 0.4 seconds over their respective four-lap runs.

"It felt great. The car really ran well," said Briscoe. "We made some changes after practice and we were hoping to pick up a couple of tenths - and we did. So it went to plan and was a picture perfect qualifying session for us."

Dan Wheldon was third, potentially his best qualifying result since rejoining Panther Racing last year, but there remains a question mark over his run, with race control evaluating whether the former champion crossed the white line at the bottom of the track during his run - an infringement that would see his time disallowed.

Dario Franchitti put the second Ganassi car fourth, with highly impressive performances from underdogs Alex Tagliani (Fazzt), Hideki Mutoh (Newman/Haas/Lanigan) and Vitor Meira (Foyt) placing them in fifth through seventh positions.

Championship leader Will Power was only eighth, ahead of his Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves.

It was a tough session for Andretti Autosport, although Danica Patrick at least squeezed into the top ten. Eleventh-placed Marco Andretti's position is also in doubt due to a potential white line infringement, while Tony Kanaan and Long Beach winner Ryan Hunter-Reay struggled to 17th and 24th respectively. John Andretti, making his debut for the team ahead of his Indianapolis 500 outing in its fifth car, was 19th.

KV's Takuma Sato will start his first oval race from 13th place. Fellow rookie Mario Romancini did not run in qualifying as the Conquest team worked to repair his car following his practice crash.

Pos  Driver               Team                    Speed
 1.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske                  212.15mph
 2.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi                 211.22mph
 3.  Dan Wheldon          Panther                 211.22mph
 4.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi                 211.19mph
 5.  Hideki Mutoh         Newman/Haas/Lanigan     211.11mph
 6.  Alex Tagliani        Fazzt                   210.86mph
 7.  Vitor Meira          Foyt                    210.66mph
 8.  Will Power           Penske                  210.62mph
 9.  Helio Castroneves    Penske                  210.49mph
10.  Danica Patrick       Andretti                210.41mph
11.  Marco Andretti       Andretti                210.40mph
12.  Mike Conway          Dreyer & Reinbold       210.38mph
13.  Takuma Sato          KV                      210.35mph
14.  Mario Moraes         KV                      210.17mph
15.  Raphael Matos        Luczo Dragon/de Ferran  209.91mph
16.  Sarah Fisher         Sarah Fisher            209.89mph
17.  Tony Kanaan          Andretti                209.72mph
18.  EJ Viso              KV                      209.73mph
19.  John Andretti        Andretti                209.73mph
20.  Simona de Silvestro  HVM                     209.43mph
21.  Bertrand Baguette    Conquest                209.32mph
22.  Justin Wilson        Dreyer & Reinbold       209.18mph
23.  Jay Howard           Sarah Fisher            208.77mph
24.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti                208.41mph
25.  Alex Lloyd           Dale Coyne              208.30mph
26.  Milka Duno           Dale Coyne              207.88mph
27.  Mario Romancini      Conquest
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