Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Montoya rues "weird" qualifying

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya said his failure to make the pole shootout for the 2016 race was "weird" but is not perturbed

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Montoya rues "weird" qualifying

Montoya was just 12th quickest during Saturday's first day of qualifying, making him the only one of Penske's three drivers not participating in the nine-driver pole shootout when qualifying resumes on Sunday.

Many drivers who considered themselves out of position on Saturday put their loss of form down to windy conditions in Turn 1 combined with the higher ride-heights on the cars to accommodate the 'domed skids' mandated for safety reasons.

Montoya said it was hard to pinpoint exactly what had gone wrong for him.

"When I ran during the day, it was really tough," he said.

"I was sliding all around. Especially Turn 1 was a nightmare for everybody.

"The weird thing for us at the end, we took downforce off. I was flat out earlier, I wasn't flat and we went slower.

"Always in qualifying it's the same BS with us, and I'm not worried about it to be honest.

"We've got a good race car again and will come past people.

"I think Chevy have got a really good race engine, so I'm pretty excited."

Other big names consigned to Sunday's first qualifying segment for positions 10-33 include reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon and his Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan, who were only 13th and 19th on Saturday.

"It obviously wasn't the result we wanted today so we just have to keep working on things," Dixon said.

"The field is really close and there are some guys out there who really put some speed on the timesheets today.

"We'll keep working hard and hopefully get things pointed in the right direction."

Kanaan added that his team "just didn't have the speed" in first qualifying.

"Today was frustrating," he said. "We weren't expecting to come right out of the gates and put up a big number for qualifying, but we were definitely hoping for some more speed than what we ended with."

One of the most disappointed drivers was Manor Formula 1 reserve Alexander Rossi, who had been in the top nine until Mikhail Aleshin bumped him out with the very last lap of the day.

"It's disappointing," Rossi said. "We spent the entire day inside the Fast Nine to get bumped out with just a few seconds left in qualifying. We thought we were safe.

"It's just a shame we won't be competing for pole tomorrow. I know we have one of the best cars on the track and we could've seen the car on the front row for the 100th running.

"We will just have to make sure we end the day in 10th tomorrow."

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