St Petersburg IndyCar: Will Power leads Penske qualifying sweep

Will Power claimed his sixth pole position on the streets of St Petersburg in a dominant Team Penske top-four lockout of the year's first IndyCar qualifying session

St Petersburg IndyCar: Will Power leads Penske qualifying sweep

The 2014 champion set a quickest time of 1m00.2450s for a pole record around the Florida street circuit - 0.1971 seconds ahead of Simon Pagenaud in second.

Power began the weekend with a heavy shunt in first practice, before setting the pace for the next two practice sessions and his sixth pole in the last seven St Petersburg races.

Helio Castroneves took to the track early doors in the final six shootout, to set a provisional pole of 1m00.4995s, but ended the session third ahead of 2015 winner Juan Pablo Montoya.

Scott Dixon threatened the top three but ultimately finished the session fifth quickest, 0.2945s shy of Power's pole.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was the fastest Dallara-Honda, and the only one to make it into the top six, but could only manage a time within 0.6s of Power.

Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe and Jack Hawksworth rounded out the top 10.

Hinchliffe set an impressive pace good enough to start from ninth on the grid for his first qualifying session since May last year, following an Indy 500 practice shunt that left him on the sidelines for the rest of the 2015 season.

The Schmidt Peterson driver and Montoya looked to be squabbling over the same piece of track during the closing stages of the second session, before Montoya, safe in fourth, allowed the Canadian past.

Hawksworth and Takuma Sato showed top-five pace during practice on Friday for AJ Foyt Racing, but could only manage 10th and 11th respectively.

The opening qualifying session of 2016 proved tough for the Andretti and Chip Ganassi Racing squads, with three out of the four drivers for each team unable to make it into the second round.

Among the group were Formula 1 refugees Alexander Rossi and Max Chilton who took part in their first IndyCar qualifying attempt and first runs on red Firestone tyres.

Reigning Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot stormed to the front of the second group during the first stage of qualifying when he set a 1m01.3881s, but having used up a set of red Firestone tyres before the rest of the field couldn't maintain the pace.

Autosport Race Centre Live will bring you full coverage of the season opener from 4:45pm UK time on Sunday.

STARTING GRID:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.2450s -
2 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.4421s 0.1971s
3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.4995s 0.2545s
4 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.5312s 0.2862s
5 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.5395s 0.2945s
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m00.8803s 0.6353s
7 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m00.5893s 0.3443s
8 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.6711s 0.4261s
9 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m00.6724s 0.4274s
10 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m00.7188s 0.4738s
11 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m00.9745s 0.7295s
12 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.0571s 0.8121s
13 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m01.1856s 0.9406s
14 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.0433s 0.7983s
15 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m01.2417s 0.9967s
16 Luca Filippi Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m01.1699s 0.9249s
17 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.5372s 1.2922s
18 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m01.2934s 1.0484s
19 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m01.5794s 1.3344s
20 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.3414s 1.0964s
21 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m01.9385s 1.6935s
22 Spencer Pigot Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m01.3881s 1.1431s
23 Oriol Servia Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet - -

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St Petersburg IndyCar: Will Power fastest again in third practice
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