IndyCar St Petersburg: Robert Wickens claims pole for debut

Robert Wickens claimed pole position for his IndyCar debut at St. Petersburg, taking top spot with the final lap of a drizzly session

IndyCar St Petersburg: Robert Wickens claims pole for debut

The Canadian was the only driver in the Fast Six to complete his time on the slower black tyre compound, and usurped Will Power in the dying seconds of the session with a lap of 1m01.6643.

Schmidt Peterson's Wickens was one of three rookies to make it into the final part of qualifying, as fellow debutants Matheus Leist and Jordan King placed third and fourth respectively.

Takuma Sato will begin his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing career from fifth, alongside Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Andretti's Hunter-Reay narrowly missed out on a chance to advance to the Fast Six after taking seventh in the second qualifying session, but was promoted to sixth after team-mate Alexander Rossi had his two fastest times deleted for interference.

Marco Andretti suffered a similar fate to Rossi at the conclusion of the first part of qualifying, allowing Sato into the 12-car shootout.

Wickens' team-mate James Hinchcliffe wound up seventh, ahead of Gabby Chaves and Scott Dixon, while Tony Kanaan completed the top 10.

2016 champion Simon Pagenaud could only manage 11th, having been caught out by the light rain that arrived towards the end of the second qualifying session, spinning at Turn 1 on each of his final three laps. The last of those spins brought out the second of two red flags during qualifying.

The penalised Rossi was classified 12th, ahead of reigning champion Josef Newgarden, who struggled to get up to speed in the first part of qualifying, missing the cut-off by just two tenths of a second.

Last year's St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais took 14th, ahead of Zach Veach, who led his qualifying group for much of the session, only to miss out on advancing by five hundredths of a second.

Graham Rahal caused the first red flag of qualifying, spinning at Turn 10 towards the end of his session, and is set to start the race from 24th as a result.

Starting grid

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m01.6643s -
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.7346s 0.0703s
3 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.7631s 0.0988s
4 Jordan King Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.7633s 0.0990s
5 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m01.8821s 0.2178s
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m02.0385s 0.3742s
7 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m00.9986s -0.6657
8 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.1191s -0.5452
9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m01.6527s -0.0116
10 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.7213s 0.0570s
11 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m04.6739s 3.0096s
12 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m07.0377s 5.3734s
13 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.4320s -1.2323
14 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.9587s -0.7056
15 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m00.4585s -1.2058
16 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.9668s -0.6975
17 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.5009s -1.1634
18 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m01.3013s -0.3630
19 Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 1m01.0270s -0.6373
20 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.3360s -0.3283
21 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.1868s -0.4775
22 Zachary Claman Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m01.8567s 0.1924s
23 Rene Binder Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.7003s 0.0360s
24 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m04.0990s 2.4347s

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robert Wickens
Author Dominik Wilde
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