St Petersburg IndyCar: Power leads Newgarden in Penske front row

Team Penske's Will Power took his eighth St Petersburg pole position ahead of the IndyCar season opener, edging team-mate Josef Newgarden in the closing stages

St Petersburg IndyCar: Power leads Newgarden in Penske front row

The Penske duo left it late into the six-minute final segment to take the top times away from Chip Ganassi Racing duo Felix Rosenqvist and Scott Dixon.

Power's time of 1m00.4594s was just under a tenth of a second quicker than Newgarden's best effort.

Debutant Rosenqvist beat his five-time champion team-mate Dixon at the first time of asking, as the latter had changes frantically made to his car to combat an ill-handling Dallara-Honda - demonstrated by a spin in the first section of qualifying.

Behind the Penske and Ganassi drivers were Andretti Autosport team-mates Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was fastest in final practice, and Alexander Rossi. Both only did one run in the final part of qualifying.

Colton Herta was among the absolute fastest throughout the session but was penalised for blocking Carlin's Charlie Kimball in the closing stages of the second phase of qualifying - dropping him out of pole position contention.

Harding Steinbrenner Racing driver Herta is now set to start 11th, while Kimball, who was also quick in the first part of qualifying, will start three places ahead.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Takuma Sato had appeared to progress past the first round of qualifying but lost his fastest lap due to a new rule stating that causing a local yellow flag results in the loss of the fastest lap.

Dixon, who benefited from Sato's penalty, had spun and also caused a yellow flag, but he did not lose his time because the rest of the field were on out laps at the time.

Jack Harvey was the fastest of the Schmidt Peterson-backed cars in seventh, ahead of Kimball, second Schmidt runner James Hinchcliffe and Graham Rahal.

Ben Hanley and DragonSpeed made the top 12 at the first time of asking, albeit in somewhat fortuitous circumstances rather than via outright pace.

The rookie was in the first group of qualifying, which had two red flags in the 10-minute segment - one for Marco Andretti stopping at the pit entry, and another for Dale Coyne Racing's Santino Ferrucci crashing at Turn 13.

This caught out the likes of Penske's Simon Pagenaud, Ed Carpenter Racing newcomer Ed Jones, AJ Foyt Enterprises' Tony Kanaan, as well as 2017/18 race winner Sebastien Bourdais.

Debutant Marcus Ericsson will start the race 17th, while Ferrucci and Andretti will start near the back as the new rule states that causing a red flag results in the offending driver's two fastest laps being annulled.

Provisional starting grid

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.4594s -
2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.5570s 0.0976s
3 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.6884s 0.2290s
4 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.8544s 0.3950s
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m01.0784s 0.6190s
6 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m01.7739s 1.3145s
7 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.9531s -
8 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.0146s -
9 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m01.0185s -
10 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m01.0944s -
11 Colton Herta Harding Racing Dallara/Honda 1m01.4182s -
12 Ben Hanley DragonSpeed Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.3703s -
13 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m04.6298s -
14 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m00.9061s -
15 Ed Jones Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m06.1422s -
16 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.9495s -
17 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda - -
18 Marcus Ericsson Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m01.1345s -
19 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda - -
20 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m01.1511s -
21 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet - -
22 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.1579s -
23 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda - -
24 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.3785s -


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