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Mikhail Aleshin claims maiden IndyCar pole at Pocono

Mikhail Aleshin stormed to a maiden IndyCar pole at Pocono for the Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports team as the Honda-powered cars proved their oval pace around the 'Tricky Triangle'

Carlos Munoz was the second driver out and looked like a contender for pole with a pair of 219mph laps.

But 12th man on track Aleshin, who earlier in the day had topped the practice timesheets, soon deposed the Colombian as the first driver to set two 220mph laps.

His combined two-lap qualifying run of 1m21.6530s was good enough for pole by 0.1s from Josef Newgarden and Takuma Sato, who late in the session were the closest to stealing the Russian's position.

The Honda powered Dallaras were the strongest on track claiming five of the top seven grid slots, despite Chevrolet's dominance in the races so far this year.

Helio Castroneves was the other Dallara-Chevy to challenge the front, and his combined 1m21.8997s was good enough for fourth.

Munoz will line up alongside James Hinchcliffe on row three after a good qualifying session for the Schmidt pair.

A hasty rebuild following a practice shunt meant Juan Pablo Montoya's Penske Dallara-Chevy was an amalgamation of parts from his team-mates' cars, but he did well to qualify in 14th, one place behind championship leader Simon Pagenaud who was visibly struggling with the windy conditions.

Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon were two of the big names to wrestle with poor grip and finished 18th and 19th respectively.

Pippa Mann, on her return to the series for the first time since the Indianapolis 500, struggled to match the pace and could only manage a pair of 211mph laps.

Last year's Pocono winner Ryan Hunter-Reay also had a shunt in first practice, and the damage proved too insurmountable for his mechanics to get the car out in time for qualifying, meaning he will line up at the back.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos Driver Team Car Speed
1 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 220.445
2 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 220.195
3 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 220.067
4 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 219.781
5 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 219.647
6 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 219.463
7 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 219.326
8 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 218.617
9 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 218.606
10 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 218.424
11 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 218.204
12 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 218.051
13 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 218.012
14 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 217.721
15 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 217.284
16 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 216.917
17 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 216.689
18 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 216.263
19 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 215.337
20 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 214.757
21 Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 211.267


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