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IndyCar Phoenix: Bourdais on pole for first oval race of the season

Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais took pole position at Phoenix for the first oval race of the 2018 IndyCar championship

The Dale Coyne Racing driver was the last man on track under the new oval qualifying system, in which drivers complete their two qualifying laps in reverse championship order.

Bourdais' effort knocked Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud off the top spot, with an average speed of 188.539 mph.

Though track conditions generally favoured those running later in the session, Pagenaud's speed held up against 11 of the 12 drivers running after him. He was just 0.081mph slower than Bourdais and 0.131mph faster than Will Power.

Alexander Rossi finished fourth quickest, ahead of James Hinchcliffe and rookie Robert Wickens.

Power and Pagenaud showed Penske's potential on the short oval, but team-mate Josef Newgarden couldn't get his lap together to reflect that.

The reigning champion ended the session seventh, just 0.02mph faster than Ryan Hunter-Reay in eighth.

Tony Kanaan and series debutant Pietro Fittipaldi completed the top 10.

Qualifying result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 39.0285s
2 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.0811s
3 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.3523s
4 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 0.3584s
5 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 0.5880s
6 Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 0.6690s
7 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.6867s
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 0.8099s
9 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 0.8339s
10 Pietro Fittipaldi Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 0.8440s
11 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 0.8949s
12 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 0.9803s
13 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1.1902s
14 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1.2124s
15 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1.3990s
16 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1.4430s
17 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1.4459s
18 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1.5710s
19 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1.6410s
20 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1.8064s
21 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 2.2039s
22 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 2.4276s
23 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 2.8440s


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