Toronto IndyCar: Penske's Simon Pagenaud takes first 2017 pole

Penske's Simon Pagenaud followed up leading two Toronto practice sessions by taking the first pole of his IndyCar title defence with a record-beating time

Toronto IndyCar: Penske's Simon Pagenaud takes first 2017 pole

Pagenaud was the second driver during qualifying to set a fastest-ever lap of the track, in a time of 58.9124 seconds, as he beat Graham Rahal by 0.3121s.

Will Power had initially set a 59.3910s for provisional pole before Pagenaud took control.

Pagenaud's title-winning 2016 campaign had included seven poles, but he has not started first since last season's finale.

The reigning champion's team-mates Helio Castroneves and Power finished qualifying third and fourth behind Rahal, with all three Penske drivers saving the softer red Firestone tyres by only using these in the final six minutes.

His fourth place means that Power has now qualified in the top five in each of the last 10 years in Toronto.

Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon took fifth, alongside home hero James Hinchcliffe on the third row of the grid.

Josef Newgarden was the only Penske driver to miss out on the top six in seventh.

Alexander Rossi ended as the leading Andretti driver in eighth, ahead of Max Chilton.

Takuma Sato and Marco Andretti finished qualifying 10th and 11th, while JR Hildebrand was 12th after causing a red flag in the third stage.

The Ed Carpenter Racing driver damaged his front wing main-plane and left-front suspension against the wall at the tight Turn 8 right-hander before the final complex.

Tony Kanaan will begin the race in 14th while Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the event in 2012, qualified only 16th.

Mikhail Aleshin's replacement Sebastian Saavedra took 20th in his first road course qualifying since the 2015 season finale at Sonoma.

Esteban Gutierrez destroyed the right-hand side of his car against the wall at the fast final corner at the end of the second round.

He was set to advance from his group before the incident, but will start last.

PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 58.9124s -
2 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 59.2245s 0.3121s
3 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 59.4345s 0.5221s
4 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 59.5430s 0.6306s
5 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 59.7970s 0.8846s
6 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m00.1415s 1.2291s
7 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 59.8992s -
8 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m00.0114s -
9 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.1202s -
10 Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m00.1970s -
11 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m00.3384s -
12 J.R. Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.3040s -
13 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 59.7585s -
14 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.0607s -
15 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 59.8686s -
16 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m00.0926s -
17 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 59.9820s -
18 Conor Daly AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.2713s -
19 Carlos Munoz AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m00.1650s -
20 Sebastian Saavedra Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m00.6272s -
21 Esteban Gutierrez Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m00.7441s -


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