Indianapolis IndyCar: Sebastian Saavedra takes shock pole in wet

Sebastian Saavedra capitalised on a mistake by Ryan Hunter-Reay to secure a surprise pole position for Saturday's inaugural IndyCar race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course

Indianapolis IndyCar: Sebastian Saavedra takes shock pole in wet

On a track still soaking from rain a few minutes earlier, Hunter-Reay had just claimed provisional pole when he lost the rear of his Andretti Dallara-Honda on the exit of the final corner, sending it into a long loop that ended with a heavy impact against the wall.

"Every time through there I had almost lost it," Hunter-Reay said. "In the wet you're always going for it, and there's a very fine line.

"The standing water was definitely an issue at times."

The Andretti driver escaped injury, but was docked his two fastest times from the session for causing the subsequent red flag.

That dropped him to third on the grid, and handed pole to KV driver Saavedra, who had moved into the top spot a short time earlier. It is the first IndyCar pole position of the Colombian's career.

"This is huge," he said. "It's a great way to start the Month of May. We saw there was a great opportunity and we took it, and I'm very proud of the team."

Simon Pagenaud will start from fourth and is the new track record holder after going quickest when the track was at its driest at the start of qualifying, while Will Power and Scott Dixon will line up from the third row, with both drivers being denied the chance to make a final run on new rubber by the red flag.

"It was our strategy to go out on older tyres at the start," said Power. "But you never know what is going to happen."

While Hunter-Reay (pictured) was the most visible victim of the rain, the changing conditions caught a number of drivers out.

Marco Andretti was among them; the Andretti driver using his tyres up early in the first qualifying phase in anticipation of showers, only to lose out when the track remained dry and his rivals' times improved.

There was also drama for Mikhail Aleshin, who had initially gone fast enough to progress from his group in the opening phase before he was issued a penalty for interference. That cost him his two best laps, which dropped him down the order and allowed Graham Rahal to progress in his place.

Pos Driver Team/Engine Time Gap 1. Sebastian Saavedra KV/Chevy 1m23.8822s 2. Jack Hawksworth Herta/Honda 1m24.0788s +0.1966s 3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Honda 1m24.8882s +1.0060s 4. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda 1m25.2881s +1.4059s 5. Will Power Penske/Chevy 1m25.5216s +1.6394s 6. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Chevy 1m25.6548s +1.7726s 7. Sebastien Bourdais KV/Chevy 1m24.5187s Round 2 8. Juan Pablo Montoya Penske/Chevy 1m24.6209s Round 2 9. Tony Kanaan Ganassi/Chevy 1m24.7099s Round 2 10. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy 1m24.8839s Round 2 11. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Honda 1m25.1318s Round 2 12. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda 1m25.4748s Round 2 13. Marco Andretti Andretti/Honda 1m10.2488s Group 1 14. Ryan Briscoe Ganassi/Chevy 1m10.2261s Group 2 15. Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda 1m10.3601s Group 1 16. Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 1m10.2804s Group 2 17. Carlos Huertas Coyne/Honda 1m10.4264s Group 1 18. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda 1m10.4141s Group 2 19. Carlos Munoz Andretti/Honda 1m10.5097s Group 1 20. Martin Plowman Foyt/Honda 1m10.4591s Group 2 21. Franck Montagny Andretti/Honda 1m10.5571s Group 1 22. Oriol Servia Rahal/Honda 1m10.5996s Group 2 23. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Chevy 1m10.6413s Group 1 24. Mike Conway Carpenter/Chevy 1m10.6535s Group 2 25. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt/Honda 1m11.2704s Group 2 All drivers use Dallara chassis 
shares
comments
Simon Pagenaud fastest in wet IndyCar practice at Indianapolis
Previous article

Simon Pagenaud fastest in wet IndyCar practice at Indianapolis

Next article

Indianapolis 500 reaches 33 cars as James Davison seals KV seat

Indianapolis 500 reaches 33 cars as James Davison seals KV seat
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 21, 2021
How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential Plus

How F1's other IndyCar exile finally unlocked his potential

Romain Grosjean's swashbuckling rookie year in IndyCar captured the imagination of many in 2021. But another ex-Formula 1 driver whose potential was masked by five years of toil in, at best, middling machinery also enjoyed a breakout year in 2021 - winning twice and finishing sixth in points. Here's how Marcus Ericsson finally delivered on his promise

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best Plus

How Ganassi's relentless new champion outfoxed IndyCar's best

IndyCar sophomore Alex Palou stunned by overcoming team-mate Scott Dixon and the rest of a white-hot field in 2021. He was consistently fast and crucially showed a level head, rebounding well from setbacks to put himself in a near unassailable position entering the final round

IndyCar
Nov 4, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Plus

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets is now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021