Pagenaud snatches Belle Isle race 1 pole in Penske 1-2-3

Simon Pagenaud - Credit: Bret Kelley / IndyCar

At the end of a close battle at the front of the field on Friday, Simon Pagenaud snatched his third pole position of the season for race one around the streets of Belle Isle.

The Frenchman won the inter-team battle for supremacy during the session at the Detroit circuit, denying Team Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves by just 0.0119 seconds.

Juan Pablo Montoya made it a Team Penske 1-2-3, but the Colombian was over half a second back on the front two, while James Hinchcliffe was the best-placed non-Penske driver in fourth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, with the Canadian over eight-tenths of a second back on Pagenaud.

Carlos Munoz appeared to carry his Indianapolis 500 form, where he finished second last weekend, over into this weekend, being the only Andretti Autosport driver to make it into the Fast Six shoot-out, with the Colombian, a race winner at this circuit a year ago, ending the session fifth fastest.

The final driver to make it through to the shoot-out for pole was Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, but the New Zealander lost pace in his final runs during the session, and was unable to better sixth on the grid.

Tony Kanaan was the first of those eliminated at the conclusion of the second part of qualifying, with the Brazilian set to start from the seventh position for Saturday’s race, while he’ll be joined on the fourth row by Ganassi team-mate Charlie Kimball.

Will Power, who had earlier set the pace in the one and only free practice session before qualifying, was a disappointed ninth in the fourth Penske entry, while the top ten was completed by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal, with Takuma Sato and Mikhail Aleshin completing the top twelve.

It was a disappointing session for Sebastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden, who finished just outside of the top six places in their respective sessions in the first pace of the three-part qualifying, and will therefore start thirteenth and fourteenth respectively, ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Conor Daly, while Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi is down in seventeenth ahead of Max Chilton.

The grid is completed by Marco Andretti, Gabby Chaves, Spencer Pigot and Jack Hawksworth, with the latter causing a brief local yellow flag by taking to a run-off area before returning to the track without damage.

Belle Isle Race 1 Qualifying Result

122Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:14.9166
23Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:14.9285
32Juan Pablo MontoyaCOLTeam Penske1:15.5659
45James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:15.7708
526Carlos MunozCOLAndretti Autosport1:16.3897
69Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:16.4613
- - Eliminated in Q2- - -
710Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:15.5508
883Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:15.6712
912Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:15.7142
1015Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:15.7172
1114Takuma SatoJAPAJ Foyt Enterprises1:16.0998
127Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:16.2665
- - Eliminated in Q1- - -
1311Sebastien BourdaisFRAKVSH Racing1:16.1087
1421Josef NewgardenUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:16.3154
1528Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:16.2643
1618Conor DalyUSADale Coyne Racing1:16.6370
1798Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:16.4512
188Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:16.7138
1927Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:16.4965
2019Gabby ChavesCOLDale Coyne Racing1:16.9140
2120Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.6894
2241Jack HawksworthGBRAJ Foyt Enterprises1:18.3918