Indianapolis 500 qualifying: James Hinchcliffe fastest on day one

James Hinchcliffe finished quickest in the first part of IndyCar qualifying for the 100th Indianapolis 500 to cement a fairytale return to the Brickyard

Indianapolis 500 qualifying: James Hinchcliffe fastest on day one

The 29-year-old Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports driver had a horrific crash during practice a year ago and was forced him to sit out the rest of the season.

But the Canadian pumped in a storming 230.946mph average to top the timesheets on Saturday in his Dallara-Honda.

The legendary race's unique qualifying format requires drivers to set four consecutive flying laps to form an aggregated total, with Saturday's times determining which drivers will fight for positions 10-33 and which will go into the Fast Nine pole shootout on Sunday.

Experienced part-timer Townsend Bell was quickest after each driver had completed their single guaranteed qualifying attempt, but when the drivers hit the track for further runs with just over an hour to go in the shortened session following downpours earlier in the day, the times began plummeting.

Helio Castroneves had been on the border of the Fast Nine positions when a series of consistent laps covered by just 0.2s put him top.

But minutes later Hinchcliffe pipped Castroneves by 0.3s in the combined laptimes.

In the dying minutes it was Will Power in the Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the Honda-powered Andretti entry who looked to challenge the top spot but both finished 0.1s off Hinchcliffe's pace.

With Hinchcliffe leading the way ahead of Hunter-Reay and Power, the crucial top nine was rounded out by Castroneves, Bell, Josef Newgarden, a final flying lap from Mikhail Aleshin for seventh, Carlos Munoz and championship leader Simon Pagenaud.

The result means that five Hondas and four Chevys will compete for pole on Sunday.

After Max Chilton's crash in practice, the qualifying session's only accident involved another British driver.

Pippa Mann suffered a rear wing end fence failure on her first flying lap as she entered Turn 2, which caused a snap of oversteer that launched her into the wall.

While the damage to her Dale Coyne Racing Dallara-Honda could have been worse, the team was unable to repair it before the end of the session.

Chilton was also unable to put up a qualifying time following his practice crash.

SATURDAY QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos Driver Team Car Speed
1 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 230.946
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 230.805
3 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 230.736
4 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 230.500
5 Townsend Bell Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 230.452
6 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 230.229
7 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 230.209
8 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 230.173
9 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 230.102
10 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 230.048
11 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 230.037
12 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 229.745
13 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 229.497
14 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 229.429
15 J.R. Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 229.075
16 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 228.096
17 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 227.862
18 Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 227.821
19 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 227.679
20 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 227.442
21 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 227.437
22 Bryan Clauson Jonathan Byrd's Racing Dallara/Honda 227.110
23 Spencer Pigot Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 227.100
24 Oriol Servia Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 226.893
25 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 226.549
26 Matthew Brabham Team Murray Dallara/Chevrolet 226.390
27 Stefan Wilson KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 225.560
28 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 225.388
29 Alex Tagliani AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 224.507
30 Buddy Lazier Lazier Burns Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 224.341
31 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 0.000
32 Gabby Chaves Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 0.000
33 Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 0.000

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