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IndyCar Grand Prix of Indianapolis

GP of Indy polewinner Power savours IndyCar achievements more now

Grand Prix of Indianapolis polesitter Will Power says he enjoys his IndyCar qualifying achievements more now because they’re becoming increasingly difficult to come by.

Pole sitter Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

After the second practice session on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439-mile road course, 18 of the 27 cars finished within half a second of top spot, so small mistakes were expected to be costly in qualifying.

Power took pole in the Fast Six shootout by a mere 0.042s ahead of reigning champion Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing), while Power’s team-mate Josef Newgarden was only 0.025s further back in third.

It was Power’s sixth pole on the IMS road course, where he has also scored five wins, and the 64th of his US open-wheel career.

The 41-year-old Australian, who now lies just three behind Mario Andretti in the all-time pole stakes, said that as the competition level has increased he relishes his pole positions more.

“Yes, I really, really enjoy them,” said the 2014 IndyCar champion, whose first pole came in the 2006 Champ Car round at Surfers Paradise.

“You don't even know if you'll get another one. Any win or anything I get in this series now I feel very blessed and happy to have got because it's tough.

“Obviously, I'm not 20 anymore either.

“You couldn't leave anything on the table. Any time you get a pole on this series these days, you've done a really good job.

“I think the team and everyone has put it together because any time you are leaving anything on the table… one-tenth moves you a lot of spots.”

Pole sitter Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, with team

Pole sitter Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet, with team

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Drivers only have two sets of Firestone’s softer, red-sidewalled tyres to use in qualifying, so those who get through to the Fast Six (Q3) are running on used rubber.

It was therefore important not to take too much out of either set used in Q1 and Q2 to minimise the drop-off in Q3, anticipated to be around three tenths.

Power managed to minimise this difference to 0.275s on his used reds in Q3, though admitted he wasn’t confident that he’d done enough to beat Palou.

“I did my absolute best and put it all together and didn't know where it would stack up,” he said.

“I just knew it was not that far off my quickest time on new tyres.

“I thought it was a pretty good time to have done on used tyres. So, yeah, it was a good lap.” 

Newgarden explained that he “felt a little bad” not to be on the front row having missed out by such a small margin.

“I feel like our car was capable of winning the pole,” said the two-time series champion.

“We literally missed it by half a tenth, so I'll put that on me. I did not get everything out of the car, and it was really capable.”

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