Hornish Secures Motegi Pole

Former IRL champion Sam Hornish has claimed his first pole position since 2003 at Motegi today

Hornish recorded a lap of 26.7266 seconds in his Penske Dallara to claim the fourth pole position of his IndyCar Series career. His last pole position came at Kentucky Speedway in August 2003.

Hornish reckoned the weather conditions worked in his favour. He said: "The cloud cover came by and the temperatures cooled down, so that definitely helped us. When we went out today in practice, we found out we wouldn't need much more downforce for qualifying. If we put too much on the car, it would have slowed us down."

Hornish just pipped rookie Danica Patrick, who became the first woman to qualify on the front row of an IRL race since Sarah Fisher qualified second at Richmond in 2003.

The Rahal Letterman Racing driver said: "I really don't think too much about what other females have done. I base my talent off of everybody else in this field. The competition is different now. It's the toughest it's ever been and I really don't challenge those statistics. I was just so mad when we lost the pole, because we were so close."

Scott Sharp, Helio Castroneves and defending Indy Japan 300 winner Dan Wheldon rounded out the top five.

Rookie Tomas Enge crashed as he warmed up for his qualifying run but is expected to be fit enough to start from 23rd.

Starting order for Japan Indy 300, Twin Ring Motegi:

1. (6) Sam Hornish Jr., Dallara-Toyota, 204.740
2. (16) Danica Patrick, Panoz-Honda, 204.502
3. (8) Scott Sharp, Panoz-Honda, 204.455
4. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Toyota, 204.447
5. (26) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 204.227
6. (4) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 204.212
7. (17) Vitor Meira, Panoz-Honda, 204.160
8. (27) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 203.990
9. (55) Kosuke Matsuura, Panoz-Honda, 203.552
10. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 203.332
11. (15) Buddy Rice, Panoz-Honda, 202.749
12. (10) Darren Manning, Panoz-Toyota, 202.490
13. (33) Ryan Briscoe, Panoz-Toyota, 202.286
14. (83) Patrick Carpentier, Dallara-Toyota, 200.770
15. (7) Bryan Herta, Dallara-Honda, 200.154
16. (51) Alex Barron, Dallara-Toyota, 200.149
17. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Toyota, 200.090
18. (44) Jeff Bucknum, Dallara-Honda, 200.061
19. (14) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Toyota, 198.687
20. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Toyota, 198.002
21. (24) Roger Yasukawa, Dallara-Honda, 197.674
22. (91) Paul Dana, Dallara-Toyota, 195.682
23. (2) Tomas Enge, Dallara-Chevrolet, no speed

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