Chevrolet drivers say Indianapolis 500 pole 'perfect response' to Honda in turbocharger row
|Monday, May 21st 2012, 13:53 GMT|
Chevrolet's IndyCar drivers say the American firm's domination of Indianapolis 500 qualifying was the ideal response to the recent controversy over the series' turbocharger rules.
Seventh-place qualifier Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) is the only Honda-powered driver in the top 10 on the Indy grid, as Chevrolet monopolised the leading positions.
Chevrolet recently protested IndyCar's decision to allow Honda to modify its compressor cover in the interests of ensuring parity between the Japanese manufacturer's single turbocharger layout and Chevy's twin turbo. The protest was eventually rejected, leading to fears from the Chevrolet contingent that Honda would dominate at Indianapolis, but so far the opposite has been true.
Pole-winner Ryan Briscoe admitted that Chevrolet's qualifying results had been particularly satisfying in light of the row.
"We have not been happy about the outcome of the 'Turbogate'," said Penske driver Briscoe. "Seemed like a bit of an unfair rule change but Chevy has worked hard.
"We just kept our heads down. I can't tell you how proud I am to run with the bow tie here. The history of Chevrolet and their involvement... they are there, every step of the way. They continually are giving us updates and they just don't stop working.
"They are certainly the motor to have today, and they have been, I believe, all year long."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who qualified third between his Andretti Autosport team-mates James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti, admitted he had been concerned that the turbo ruling would leave his Chevy-engined team struggling at Indy.
"Of course you're worried," he said. "Honda is a very able engine manufacturer. They know how to win races and any time they can add anything, you're thinking, 'oh, boy, what's it going to be like?' But Chevy has done a tremendous job."
Graham Rahal was the top qualifier for Honda's flagship Ganassi team in 12th place. The American conceded that Chevrolet was currently in a commanding position.
"Chevy certainly has a little bit of an advantage at this point," Rahal said. "When they turned the wick up [on Friday], the speeds were almost two miles per hour more than most Hondas could go."
He added: "The Chevy just, right now, has more power. It's as simple as that. But the car definitely moves around. I'm not going to tell you it's easy. [Qualifying was] the hardest four laps I think I've driven around here."
2012 Indianapolis 500 grid:
Pos Driver Team/Car Speed 1. Ryan Briscoe Penske DW12-Chevy 226.484 2. James Hinchcliffe Andretti DW12-Chevy 226.481 3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti DW12-Chevy 226.240 4. Marco Andretti Andretti DW12-Chevy 225.456 5. Will Power Penske DW12-Chevy 225.422 6. Helio Castroneves Penske DW12-Chevy 225.172 7. Josef Newgarden Fisher DW12-Honda 224.037 8. Tony Kanaan KV DW12-Chevy 224.751 9. EJ Viso KV DW12-Chevy 224.422 10. Rubens Barrichello KV DW12-Chevy 224.264 11. Alex Tagliani Herta DW12-Honda 224.000 12. Graham Rahal Ganassi DW12-Honda 223.959 13. Ana Beatriz Andretti/Conquest DW12-Chevy 223.920 14. Charlie Kimball Ganassi DW12-Honda 223.868 15. Scott Dixon Ganassi DW12-Honda 223.684 16. Dario Franchitti Ganassi DW12-Honda 223.582 17. James Jakes Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 223.482 18. JR Hildebrand Panther DW12-Chevy 223.422 19. Takuma Sato Rahal DW12-Honda 223.392 20. Townsend Bell Schmidt DW12-Honda 223.134 21. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne DW12-Honda 222.929 22. Michel Jourdain Jr Rahal DW12-Honda 222.893 23. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt DW12-Honda 222.891 24. Sebastian Saavedra AFS/Andretti DW12-Chevy 222.811 25. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon DW12-Chevy 223.760 26. Wade Cunningham Foyt DW12-Honda 223.258 27. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR DW12-Chevy 222.393 28. Ed Carpenter Carpenter DW12-Chevy 222.324 29. Mike Conway Foyt DW12-Honda 222.319 30. Katherine Legge Dragon DW12-Chevy 221.624 31. Bryan Clauson Fisher DW12-Chevy 214.455 32. Simona de Silvestro HVM DW12-Lotus 214.393 33. Jean Alesi Fan Force DW12-Lotus 210.094