Pigot tops first Indy 500 qualifying, Alonso misses certain race cut

Ed Carpenter Racing's Spencer Pigot edged Penske's trio of drivers to top Saturday's qualifying session for the Indianapolis 500, as James Hinchcliffe and Fernando Alonso missed the cut

Pigot tops first Indy 500 qualifying, Alonso misses certain race cut

Under the Indy 500 qualifying format, all 36 entrants are permitted a four-lap run of the 2.5-mile circuit, and then had the opportunity to improve on their time, across a seven-hour session, with the order in which the drivers run being decided by a random ballot.

Pigot was the second driver to complete a run in the optimal early conditions and produced an average speed of 230.083mph, leaving him just 0.002mph clear of 2018 winner Will Power.

Power was the only driver other to finish their qualifying effort in the 230mph range, as his team-mates Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden capped a strong day for the regular Penske racers by taking third and fourth.

Harding Steinbrenner Racing's Colton Herta had already secured a berth in the Fast Nine but he improved late on to take fifth, in front of Ed Jones.

Three-time Indy 500 polesitter Ed Carpenter, 2016 victor Alexander Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais were the final drivers to qualify for Sunday's Fast Nine session.

In drama at the rear of the field, Hinchcliffe lost the rear end of his Schmidt Peterson Motorsport-run car through Turn 2 on his first run and careered into the wall in a hefty impact, but he was able to walk away from the wreckage uninjured.

Hinchcliffe climbed into the team's back-up car but his subsequent efforts were insufficient and he faces the prospect of competing for the last row, 12 months after missing the cut.

Alonso and McLaren struggled for speed throughout the day, with the double Formula 1 world champion's initial qualifying effort hampered by a cut on his right-rear tyre.

After having his practice time shortened by a crash and an electrical issue, Alonso flirted with the lower reaches of the top 30 as the day progressed.

But as the final laps were completed he ended up only 31st, with late surges from JR Hildebrand and Graham Rahal sealing Alonso's fate.

Alonso and Hinchcliffe will return to compete for the final three spots on the grid, where they will face competition from Patricio O'Ward, Sage Karam - who brushed the wall on his first run - Max Chilton and Kyle Kaiser.

Should rain disrupt proceedings on Sunday then Bump Day will be postponed until Monday.

If the anticipated inclement weather does strike Indianapolis on Sunday then Saturday's results will instead determine the front three rows of the grid for next weekend's race.

Marco Andretti made a few attempts at demoting Bourdais from the Fast Nine but fell short and will front the fourth row of the grid, with positions 10-30 now locked in.

Conor Daly was 11th, ahead of three-time winner Helio Castroneves, with F1 convert Marcus Ericsson the highest-placing rookie in 13th spot, five positions in front of reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

First qualifying speeds

Pos Driver Team Car Speed
1 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 230.083
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 230.081
3 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 229.854
4 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 229.749
5 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 229.478
6 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 229.440
7 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 229.349
8 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 229.268
9 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 228.800
10 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 228.756
11 Conor Daly Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 228.617
12 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 228.523
13 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 228.511
14 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 228.300
15 James Davison Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 228.273
16 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 228.120
17 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 228.104
18 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 228.100
19 Oriol Servia Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 227.991
20 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 227.915
21 J.R. Hildebrand Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 227.908
22 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 227.877
23 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 227.731
24 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 227.717
25 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 227.695
26 Jordan King Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 227.502
27 Ben Hanley DragonSpeed Dallara/Chevrolet 227.482
28 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 227.341
29 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 227.297
30 Pippa Mann Clauson-Marshall Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 227.244
31 Fernando Alonso McLaren Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 227.224
32 Patricio O'Ward Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 227.065
33 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 226.956
34 Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 226.951
35 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 226.934
36 Kyle Kaiser Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 225.918

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Spencer Pigot
Author Phillip Horton
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