IndyCar Long Beach: Ex-Formula 1 driver Alexander Rossi takes pole

Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi continued his strong start to 2018, taking pole position for the third race of the IndyCar season at Long Beach by over three-tenths

IndyCar Long Beach: Ex-Formula 1 driver Alexander Rossi takes pole

Practice pacesetter Rossi claimed his second-ever pole in the series with a 1m06.5528s on his one and only run in the final qualifying session, putting a Honda-powered car at the top of the pile.

Rossi beat the Chevrolet-propelled Penske of Will Power by 0.3526s in the final part of practice, which is reserved for the top six drivers from the previous session to fight it out for pole.

Power's team-mate Simon Pagenaud completed the top three, just 0.0053s further adrift.

Points leader and reigning champion Josef Newgarden was on course to beat both of his Penske stable-mates Power and Pagenaud before a mistake at Turn 8 reduced him to sixth, leaving Scott Dixon (Ganassi) to take fourth ahead of Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Rossi's Andretti team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay was left baffled after he received a drive-through penalty mid-session for a pitlane exit infringement, he could only manage seventh despite topping the opening qualifying group.

Defending Long Beach winner James Hinchcliffe was eighth fastest for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, ahead of Dale Coyne's Sebastien Bourdais.

Hinchcliffe's SPM team-mate Robert Wickens rounded out the top 10, failing to make the final six for the first time in his rookie season in IndyCar.

Series veteran Tony Kanaan was 11th ahead of British rookie Jordan King who qualified 12th on his second appearance of the year with Ed Carpenter Racing, edging out last year's top newcomer Ed Jones and fellow rookie Matheus Leist.

Max Chilton's 15th place marked Carlin's best qualifying of its IndyCar venture so far, with his team-mate Charlie Kimball 23rd.

Slowest of all was 2017 IndyLights champion Kyle Kaiser, who damaged his left-rear tyre after contact with the barriers at Turn 9.

Starting grid:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m06.5528s -
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m06.9054s 0.3526s
3 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m06.9107s 0.3579s
4 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m07.0483s 0.4955s
5 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m07.1275s 0.5747s
6 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m07.1922s 0.6394s
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m07.1415s -
8 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m07.1899s -
9 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m07.1943s -
10 Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m07.2289s -
11 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m07.3478s -
12 Jordan King Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m07.6427s -
13 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m08.3844s -
14 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m08.1622s -
15 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m08.7167s -
16 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m08.1763s -
17 Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 1m08.8207s -
18 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m08.2739s -
19 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m08.8623s -
20 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m08.5294s -
21 Zachary Claman Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m09.1429s -
22 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m08.6340s -
23 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m09.7481s -
24 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet - -


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alexander Rossi
Author Josh Suttill
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