Team Penske‘s Will Power has taken pole position for tomorrow’s 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The Australian took the team’s fourth consecutive pole for the event, as their stranglehold on the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit looks to continue for yet another year.
After finishing as the fastest driver in the two practice sessions earlier in the day, Power took a step back from the top spot through the first few stages of qualifying. He comfortably advanced through to the Firestone fast six, but he saved his absolute best effort for the final run.
With less than a minute left in the last session, Power pulled off a sublime lap in his #12 Verizon Chevrolet, putting in a 1:09.8182 despite the lap being his second flying lap on his set of tyres. The pole position is Power’s second at the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit and is also the forty-first pole of his IndyCar career. He will be hoping that he can take his third win at this race when he leads from pole tomorrow.
Lining up alongside Power on the front-row will be the ever-impressive rookie, Robert Wickens. The Canadian looked as though he may have done enough to secure his second career pole right up until Power pipped him by less than a tenth of a second. Nevertheless, it was another fantastic run for the #6 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver.
Rueing what might have been last time out at Barber Motorsports Park, Dale Coyne Racing‘s Sebastien Bourdais entered the weekend as determined as ever. He will line-up third on the grid, with James Hinchcliffe just behind in fourth place for SPM.
Ed Carpenter Racing‘s Jordan King had a dramatic qualifying session. On his first run in round one, the British rookie found that the brakes on his #20 Chevrolet were not to his liking, with the mechanics being forced to frantically work on the car in order to get him out on-track to set a lap. King managed to get back out with less than three minutes remaining and miraculously managed to get through to the next round.
From there, King went from strength to strength and ultimately qualified in fifth place; his second appearance in the Firestone fast six after previously making it to the final round back at the season-opener at St. Petersburg. Reigning series champion Josef Newgarden was just behind, rounding out the top six that made it through to the last round of qualifying.
Simon Pagenaud, who has taken two victories at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, narrowly missed out on a spot in the fast six; with the Frenchman qualifying seventh for Penske. Andretti Autosport‘s Alexander Rossi was disappointed to have not made the final session after the championship contender could only manage eighth place.
Spencer Pigot took his best ever qualifying result after taking his #21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet to ninth on the grid. Pigot was just ahead of the returning Helio Castroneves, who will line-up in tenth place in his #3 Penske. Fellow series veterans, Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan will start eleventh and twelfth respectively; with the pair being the final two to make it through to the second session of qualifying.
A number of big names failed to advance out of the opening round of the session. Ryan Hunter-Reay was just outside the top twelve in thirteenth place. His Andretti stablemate, Marco Andretti, was just behind in fourteenth in the #98 car.
Carlin‘s Max Chilton will start sixteenth, with Graham Rahal right on his gearbox in seventeenth. Rahal would tweet after the session that he was “Really ticked” and “upset” to be starting near the back of the order again, this time due to flat-spotting his tyres after a bad lock-up on one of his fast laps. Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Scott Dixon was perhaps the biggest shock of the session, as the New Zealander could only manage to qualify a lowly eighteenth place on the grid.
Zachary Claman De Melo qualified in nineteenth after being called up at the last minute to replace the injured Pietro Fittipaldi in the #19 DCR Honda. Fellow rookies Zach Veach and Matheus Leist will be right on his coat-tails tomorrow when they start right behind him in twentieth and twenty-first respectively.
2018 Verizon IndyCar Series – Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Qualifying results:
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