Houston IndyCar: Takuma Sato secures pole for AJ Foyt Racing

Takuma Sato gave AJ Foyt Racing a hometown pole position for the first of this weekend's two IndyCar races on the streets of Houston

Houston IndyCar: Takuma Sato secures pole for AJ Foyt Racing

Delays caused by track problems early in the weekend forced the qualifying format to be changed, with the standard 'fast six' procedure being replaced by a 30-minute session split across two randomly-determined groups.

Sato was in the second group, and capitalised on a combination of a good lap and the benefit of a session run entirely under greens to deliver his 1m00.4535s pole time.

"It feels pretty good," said Sato. "It's a new circuit and lots going on with different configurations of he tack but the boys did a good job and we put everything together. It's a good day."

Ganassi driver Scott Dixon came closest to matching him, the Kiwi falling just over 0.1s short on his final flying lap, leaving Simon Pagenaud third fastest from the group.

The time they had to beat was the 1m01.1524s laid down by Will Power earlier on, but that was a relatively soft target.

An accident at Turn 10 from Tristan Vautier in the opening minutes of the session left the first group with just five minutes of green flag time, and Power later admitted that his fastest lap had been on the harder black tyres.

The Australian will start on the outside of the front row.

The incident had even greater ramifications for championship leader Helio Castroneves, who will start from near the back of the field after finishing up 11th in the first group.

Pos Driver Team/Engine Time 1. Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 1m00.4535s Group 2 2. Will Power Penske/Chevy 1m01.1524s Group 1 3. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Honda 1m00.6057s Group 2 4. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon/Chevy 1m01.4911s Group 1 5. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda 1m00.6184s Group 2 6. Simona de Silvestro KV/Chevy 1m01.5527s Group 1 7. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Chevy 1m01.2123s Group 2 8. Luca Filippi Herta/Honda 1m01.6520s Group 1 9. EJ Viso Andretti/Chevy 1m01.3274s Group 2 10. Dario Franchitti Ganassi/Honda 1m01.7201s Group 1 11. James Jakes Rahal/Honda 1m01.3678s Group 2 12. Marco Andretti Andretti/Chevy 1m01.7907s Group 1 13. Mike Conway Coyne/Honda 1m01.5154s Group 2 14. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda 1m01.8065s Group 1 15. Tony Kanaan KV/Chevy 1m01.5409s Group 2 16. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Chevy 1m01.8305s Group 1 17. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Honda 1m01.6329s Group 2 18. Oriol Servia Panther/Chevy 1m01.9043s Group 1 19. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda 1m02.0140s Group 2 20. Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda 1m02.1588s Group 1 21. Sebastian Saavedra Dragon/Chevy 1m02.1175s Group 2 22. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy 1m02.2823s Group 1 23. Ed Carpenter Carpenter/Chevy 1m03.5193s Group 2 24. Tristan Vautier Schmidt/Honda Group 1 All drivers use Dallara DW12 chassis 
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Series IndyCar
Drivers Takuma Sato
Author Mark Glendenning
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