Power denies Dixon pole for season opener at St. Pete

Will Power will start on pole position for a 45th time in his IndyCar career - Credit: James Boone

Despite a brush with the wall during the second phase of qualifying, Will Power scraped through to the Firestone Fast Six, and then secured his seventh pole position at St. Petersburg in eight attempts.

For the first time all weekend in Florida, Chevrolet hit the front having seen Honda finish on top in the practice sessions, and it was 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Power who took pole with a best lap of 1:01.0640 for Team Penske.

A small mistake early in his best lap cost Scott Dixon top spot, with the New Zealander missing out by 0.1579 seconds, but the Chip Ganassi Racing driver was still able to be the best of the rest and will be looking to take his first victory around the street circuit on Sunday.

James Hinchcliffe was an excellent third for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport ahead of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who made it through to the Fast Six on his first appearance with Roger Penske’s outfit.

Takuma Sato, who crashed during practice on Friday, also made it through on his first appearance for Andretti Autosport, and the Japanese racer will start fifth ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan.

Kanaan had an off-track moment during Q2 that also delayed team-mate Max Chilton, and potentially cost the Briton a shot at making it into the final segment of qualifying. Despite this he did qualify seventh, and he will be joined on row four by 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi.

Charlie Kimball ensured all four Chip Ganassi Racing entries will start inside the top ten, with the American racer ninth on the grid ahead of Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, while Carlos Muñoz will start eleventh on his first appearance for AJ Foyt Racing.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was the final driver to make it through to Q2, but the Andretti Autosport driver hit the wall early on in the session and damaged both his rear wing and suspension, and despite rapid repairs in the pit lane by his mechanics, he was unable to return to the track.

Spencer Pigot was unfortunate to miss out on advancing out of his group in Q1, but the Ed Carpenter Racing driver will start thirteenth on the grid, and he will be joined on the seventh row of the grid by reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud, who endured a disappointing first qualifying session of the season.

The most disappointed driver though will be Sebastien Bourdais, who crashed out of the session at turn three, damaging his car and causing a red flag that prevented him from returning to the track. The Dale Coyne Racing driver has been on the pace for much of the weekend but will now face starting the race on Sunday from the very back of the twenty-one car field.

Streets of St. Petersburg Qualifying Result

112Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:01.0640
29Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:01.2219
35James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:01.3039
42Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske1:01.7229
526Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport1:01.9851
610Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:02.0824
- - Eliminated in Q2- - -
78Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:01.3516
898Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:01.5198
983Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:01.6066
1015Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:01.6181
1114Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises1:01.7399
1228Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:03.1588
- - Eliminated in Q1- - -
1320Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:01.5898
141Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:01.6129
1527Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:01.6070
163Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:01.7159
177Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:01.7674
1819Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing1:01.7598
1921JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:01.8465
204Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises1:02.2030
2118Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne RacingNo Time