Fontana IndyCar: Marco Andretti beats Ryan Briscoe to pole

Marco Andretti took pole position for Saturday's IndyCar season finale at Fontana

Fontana IndyCar: Marco Andretti beats Ryan Briscoe to pole

On an afternoon marked by constantly changing conditions, Andretti made the most of the relatively favourable wind early in the session to lay down a 216.069mph average that proved beyond the reach of the rest of the field.

"I had my mind made up that I was going flat," he said. "Whatever was going to happen was going to happen. I even talked about it with my engineer: 'if I do a lazy lift, we're not going to have a chance for the pole'. So I just went for it on lap one, and she hung in there.

"But then lap two, I committed again to being flat. I had an even bigger lift. I should have in hindsight on lap two just done a lazy lift, just committed to lifting. Instead I committed to going flat, and had to bail out big-time. That almost caught me out with Ryan [Briscoe] - I was worried about that.

"I've been on the outside looking in on that hundredth of a mile an hour for the pole. I was on the good side of that today."

Briscoe came closest to toppling the American with a 216.058mph average that translated into his missing pole by 0.0032 seconds.

Points leader Will Power was third-fastest at 215.940mph, although he is one of 14 drivers currently facing a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change.

It was a difficult afternoon for Power's title rival Ryan Hunter-Reay, who could only manage 17th fastest with a 10-place penalty to be added.

Two cars failed to set a time, with Justin Wilson sitting out the session after crashing during practice, and Simona de Silvestro missing out after suffering an engine failure during the morning.

Pos Driver Team/Car Speed 1. Marco Andretti Andretti Dallara-Chevy 216.069 2. Ryan Briscoe Penske Dallara-Chevy 216.058 3. Will Power Penske Dallara-Chevy 215.940 4. Josef Newgarden Fisher Dallara-Honda 215.919 5. Scott Dixon Ganassi Dallara-Honda 215.391 6. Alex Tagliani Herta Dallara-Honda 215.226 7. Tony Kanaan KV Dallara-Chevy 214.877 8. JR Hildebrand Panther Dallara-Chevy 214.749 9. Ed Carpenter Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 214.684 10. Helio Castroneves Penske Dallara-Chevy 214.409 11. Graham Rahal Ganassi Dallara-Honda 214.015 12. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Dallara-Chevy 213.726 13. Rubens Barrichello KV Dallara-Chevy 213.527 14. Katherine Legge Dragon Dallara-Chevy 213.308 15. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Dallara-Honda 213.282 16. Takuma Sato Rahal Dallara-Honda 213.222 17. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Dallara-Chevy 212.773 18. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR Dallara-Chevy 212.533 19. Dario Franchitti Ganassi Dallara-Honda 211.999 20. Charlie Kimball Ganassi Dallara-Honda 211.531 21. Sebastian Saavedra AFS/Andretti Dallara-Chevy 210.619 22. EJ Viso KV Dallara-Chevy 210.134 23. Wade Cunningham Foyt Dallara-Honda 209.526 24. James Jakes Coyne Dallara-Honda 208.056 25. Simona de Silvestro HVM Dallara-Lotus 26. Justin Wilson Coyne Dallara-Honda 
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