Rossi masters wet conditions, takes pole position for race two at Detroit

Credit: James Black / Courtesy of IndyCar

Alexander Rossi will start on pole position for the second Verizon IndyCar Series race of the weekend at Detroit’s Belle Isle street circuit. The Andretti Autosport driver mastered the wet conditions in the session to take his second pole position of the season.

After yesterday’s first race of the 2018 Chevrolet Duel in Detroit, Rossi was left frustrated in third place, believing that he had spent much of the race being held up in traffic when he could have perhaps won the race. Less than twenty-four hours later, though, his mood has greatly improved.

Like yesterday, the field was split into two groups for qualifying. The pole-sitting driver would put his group on the odd-numbered grid positions for the race, with the slower group starting on the even numbered side.

Despite the rainy conditions theoretically giving the better track conditions to the second group, Alexander Rossi managed to take pole position after setting his time in group one. He lapped the circuit with a 01:33.3143 to take the top spot, with a half a second advantage over the second placed driver in his group, Will Power.

After the session, Rossi would give praise to the tyre supplier, Firestone, for providing the teams and drivers with their new wet tyres for the session. The American said that the new tyres performed fantastically

“It was difficult,” Rossi said after climbing from the car, “The wet’s hard in any type of condition, especially on a street course like this. I’ve got to give a shout out to Firestone. This new tread pattern they came up with was really stout. It had a lot of grip, it was very predictable, I knew where the limit was right away.

“It made the job easier, for sure. It then becomes a session of trying to find the grip and maximizing as much as you can. Fortunately, the No. 27 Ruoff Home Mortgage car had a good balance and allowed me to do that.”

When the second group came out, rookie Robert Wickens put in a solid effort to take the fastest time of the group. He was three tenths off of Rossi’s time, meaning that he could not promote group two to the odd-numbered side of the grid. Wickens will, therefore, start in second place today’s race, with last weekend’s Indianapolis 500 race winner, Will Power, just behind in third.

Ed Jones put in a great drive in yesterday’s race to take a solid sixth place. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver’s good pace continued into today’s qualifying session, with the Dubai-born British driver taking fourth on the grid. His team-mate, yesterday’s race winner Scott Dixon, will line-up just behind in fifth.

James Hinchcliffe will start the race in sixth place for Schmidt Peterson MotorsportsZach Veach will be just behind in seventh, with the rookie hoping to finish higher than he did yesterday when he failed to match the pace of his Andretti Autosport team-mates.

Simon Pagenaud and Graham Rahal will line-up eighth and ninth, with Rahal looking to bounce back from his accident yesterday to take a strong finish in the second race of the weekend. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished second in yesterday’s race, will have a tough time trying to replicate his podium. The American was due to start higher up the order, but he lost his best lap after spinning his car and causing a red flag. He will start tenth as a result.

Further back, yesterday’s pole-sitter, Marco Andretti, was not able to replicate his one-lap pace in today’s qualifying session. He will start in twelfth, sandwiched between two rookies; Jordan King in eleventh and Santino Ferrucci in thirteenth.

It was a difficult session for some. Reigning series champion Josef Newgarden caused a red flag in group one after understeering into the tyre barriers. His best lap before that point was only good enough for nineteenth on the grid. Tony Kanaan also had troubles, breaking his front wing after spinning into the wall on his out-lap. Tony failed to get back out on track to set a lap-time and will start in twenty-second, with Rene Binder propping up the field in twenty-third and last place after also failing to set a time.

Credit: Joe Skibinski / Courtesy of IndyCar

2018 Verizon IndyCar Series – Duel in Detroit – Race two qualifying results:

127Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:33.3143
26Robert Wickens (R)CANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports01:33.6605
312Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:33.8295
410Ed JonesUAEChip Ganassi Racing01:33.9256
59Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing01:33.9544
65James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports01:34.1370
726Zach Veach (R)USAAndretti Autosport01:34.6464
822Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske01:34.2315
915Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:35.0256
1028Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport01:34.5021
1120Jordan King (R)GBREd Carpenter Racing01:35.1374
1298Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Herta01:34.5475
1319Santino Ferrucci (R)USADale Coyne Racing01:35.4664
1488Gabby ChavesCOLHarding Racing01:35.6045
1521Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing01:36.3713
1618Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan01:35.6692
1759Max ChiltonGBRCarlin01:36.9796
184Matheus Leist (R)BRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:36.0439
191Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske01:38.3041
2030Takuma SatoJAPRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:37.0851
2123Charlie KimballUSACarlin01:39.3597
2214Tony KanaanBRAA.J. Foyt EnterprisesNo time
2332Rene Binder (R)AUTJuncos RacingNo time