Power wins another pole in Brazil
Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300, where he decisively claimed the top spot on the grid by four-tenths of a second over Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Hunter-Reay elicited a collective chuckle from the international media contingent when he congratulated Will Power for the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle.
“Everybody else in the paddock is getting tired of it … but he’s doing a great job,” said Hunter-Reay, who will start next to Power on the front row for the second consecutive race.
It was Power’s fourth consecutive pole of the season (19th of his career) and gave Penske Racing its 200th Indy car pole.
"What a fantastic job they did repaving the track, and I believe it now sets the standard for street courses," Power said. "The second session for us was a little tight - I was P5 with one lap to go - and I put a lap together at the end to advance. In the Fast Six we were very comfortable and gave it everything we had."
Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, set the track record of 1 minute, 21.8958 seconds with three minutes left in the 10-minute Firestone Fast Six shootout on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn street circuit, sealing the outcome.
“We tried to do as minimal laps as we could in the first two sessions of qualifying,” said Power, who was quickest on the time chart for the combined practice sessions earlier the day. “The second session was close. We got a lap in at the end on our last bit of fuel and we made it into the Fast Six. The car was so good that I just had to lay a really good lap, stay clean, put all the sectors together and we came away with the pole again.”
Power and Hunter-Reay finished 1-2 in the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series race in Brazil.
“The team did a great job with the car,” said Hunter-Reay, who was among the contenders for the victory at Long Beach before the No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car developed a mechanical issue with 13 laps left. “It was a lot of fun out there all day. With qualifying being the same day as the first practice, we had to stay on our toes, but I think that it suited us. Unfortunately, we didn’t get pole (best lap of 1:22.2975).
“We just have to back and work to make the car better so we can get by Will on the straights to reverse that result from last year.”
Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 6 Penske Logistics car will share Row 2.
“I think with the compressed schedule you have to act and think fast,” said Dixon, who starts on the second row for the third time in this young season. “The race pace of the Target cars is usually a bit quicker than the qualifying speeds so we're looking forward to tomorrow."
Graham Rahal and Dario Franchitti, the championship points leader driving the No. 10 Kellogg’s car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, will be on the third row for the 75-lap race (noon ET on VERSUS). It's the best start of the season for Rahal, driving the No. 38 car for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing.
Vitor Meira, who finished third in the 2010 race, missed advancing to Segment 2 by 0.0647 of a second – the third time this season (gaps of 0.0091 of a second at St. Petersburg and 0.1937 of a second at Long Beach). … Sebastien Bourdais, completing his initial road/street course stint of the season with Dale Coyne Racing, will start a season-high 12th in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car. … Eight different teams were represented in 12-car Segment 2. … James Hinchcliffe bumped Simona de Silvestro, who posted the second-quickest lap in practice, from advancing to Segment 2 on his final lap. … Franchitti joined Power in participated in all four Firestone Fast Six sessions this season. … Takuma Sato in the No. 5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus car will start a season-high 10th.
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award): "We tried to do as minimal laps as we could in the first two sessions. The second session was close. We got a lap in at the end on our last bit of fuel and we made it the Fast Six. The car was so good that I just had to lay a really good lap, stay clean, put all the sectors together and we came away with the pole again. I want a good, clean race tomorrow. I don't want to be involved in any incidents. I just come away with a win."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda, qualified second): "The team did a great job with the car. It was a lot of fun out there all day. With qualifying being the same day as the first practice, we had to stay on our toes, but I think that it suited us. Unfortunately we didn't get pole. We just have to back and work to make the car better so we can get by Will (Power) on the straights to reverse that result from last year."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified third): "It was pretty decent. I think with the compressed schedule, you have to act and think fast. We're happy. We have three cars in the top six today. The race pace of the Target cars are usually a bit quicker than the qualifying speeds so we're looking forward to tomorrow."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Penske Logistics, qualified fourth): "It was a good day for the yellow Penske Logistics car. What an awesome effort by all my guys - they came in late (due to travel problems from the U.S.) and they were rushed to get ready for the first practice this morning. We came out with a really good setup right away and the car is definitely fast. I have to say I'm really impressed with the circuit here in Sao Paulo. The did a great job repaving the surface and I think it's going to be a really exciting race tomorrow."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central, qualified fifth): "Overall, it was a great day for the Service Central guys. We felt good coming in here and I felt it was a track that I'd really like after watching last year's race and from the first session, we felt competitive. After the second session we felt like we would be faster that our final result and it came through. We were competitive in qualifying. We were fastest in the first group and made it to Fast Six. I just made a mistake in Fast Six and messed up my rhythm a bit. But I'm happy to qualify fifth. At the end of the day, you have to look at the positives, and this is a result that will help keep the team moving forward."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Kellogg's, qualified sixth): "The Kellogg's car felt OK, we just weren't fast enough today."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Ipiranga Team Penske, qualified seventh): "It's a shame we didn't make it into the top six in qualifying in the Itaipava Team Penske car. We pushed really hard, but it just didn't work for us. We were three tenths-of-a-second off the sixth-fastest time and I think if we could have gotten more a draft we would have put ourselves in a better position, but we gave it our best. Starting seventh tomorrow isn't too bad - maybe it will be my 'Lucky 7' this weekend."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 HP/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, qualified eighth): "Unfortunately, we didn't make the Firestone Fast Six today. It's a shame because we have been OK all day. I thought that we had a little bit more in it, but we just couldn't get the balance where we liked it for qualifying. It's how it goes. We've made three out of four Firestone Fast Six's so far, which apart from Will (Power) that's not a bad average. We have some work to do. We've got to try and make the car a little bit quicker and a little bit better. All in all, I think we made good progress today. We made some positive steps and moved forward. I think it's been good, but the competition level is high and it's pretty tight. It's disappointing, but I think we have a good race car."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus, qualified 10th): "It was not an easy day, but through both practice sessions we made steady progress. I tried everything I could in qualifying and the team did put everything together, but we just lacked speed. So, tonight we need to review the data we collected today and work hard to find some more speed for the race. Under the circumstances, I am reasonably happy with the performance today and I feel we can have a strong race tomorrow.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman/Haas Racing): "The track is cool; it's super-technical in some parts but then you have the longest straights on the entire calendar mixed into a street circuit so there is a huge variety. It really becomes a compromise on setup because you've got to trim the car for the long straights but you have still got to have downforce for the corners. It's a tough, technical place and from what I've heard it's improved a lot from last year in terms of the bumps and grip so it has been a lot of fun to drive. I think qualifying went reasonably well for the Sprott team. We didn't have a great first or second practice -- especially second practice this morning. So to make it out of the first round was great. These are a different compound Firestone reds than Long Beach so again it was a new tire for me to learn. We managed to get out of Round 1 and we made big gains in Round 2 but it wasn't enough to get any higher than 11th. I'm happy to be starting on the inside line. Again we are really close to the top-10 but I think that is all we had today after the limited running we had in the second practice so we'll take it. We finished fourth after coming from 11th two weeks ago in Long Beach so maybe it's a good sign. The race is going to be about keeping clean in Turn 1 and hopefully we have a good race car."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America): "I thought the #19 Boy Scouts of America car was great in qualifying today. I was very happy for the team that we made it into the next round of qualifying. I think starting in the P12 spot will give us an excellent opportunity to have a great finish in the race tomorrow."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/HVM Racing): "This qualifying session was a little bit disappointing. I think we're just missing something on the red tires, so we just need to figure it out. It seems like the other teams are just picking up a bit more grip than we are, but I think we've got an idea of how we're going to fix it. For the race tomorrow, I think we're going to be alright. The track is a lot of fun and there's plenty of straight-a-ways so we'll be able to pass. If the car is solid for the race, I think we can definitely drive it to the front."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 24 Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): "Well, the session was a little bit disappointing for us. We thought with the Firestone "red" tires we could gain more time and we didn't. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that much grip and I couldn't put a lap together. We were a little bit disappointed in some of the corners, I think we should be better tomorrow. My wrist still hurts a little bit especially when the track grips up and you to be more aggressive, so we'll see for tomorrow. It's frustrating because we didn't have a very good session."
ORIOL SERVIA ( No. 2 Telemundo/Newman/Haas Racing): "The course is interesting. I think it is going to provide great racing. I think that if I had to choose a place to start 16th it would be the one with the longest straights in the whole championship. This place definitely provides passing opportunities which helps our situation. We didn't get it right in qualifying; I wasn't totally happy with the Telemundo car. No excuses, we were not ten-tenths. We missed it but I am still very confident we can have a great car tomorrow. Our superb engineers are working hard and I think that if we have a good car there is no reason why we can't move up to the front."
JAMES JAKES (No. 18 VisitOrlando.com):"It was a little frustrating, but overall I was happy with how the #18 VisitOrlando.com car did today. This is a very challenging track and I am looking forward to the race tomorrow."
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt Racing): "There was a time last year when we would have thought that this was ok but now we are the point where we want more and believe we can get more. Our ABC Supply team has been evolving and I think we have evolved more than the others but it is definitely tougher this year—you just have to look at how close the times are. We are seventh in our group for three out of the first four races -- it is a bittersweet feeling."
E.J. VISO ( No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology- Lotus): "Unfortunately, after going over the car the team found we had a mechanical failure that caused me to crash during the second practice session. The car suffered a lot of damage and even thought my crew, with help from some of the guys from the other two KVRT - Lotus crews, worked very hard we just didn't have enough time to fix the car for qualifying. Obviously I am disappointed. We improved the car a lot during practice and I thought I had a chance for a good qualifying session. However, with this track and the way things have gone in the last three races anything is possible, so I am hoping for the best tomorrow."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): "I think the Venom car is stronger than our qualifying results showed today. We didn't get a solid, strong lap in and had a mistake on the track and that really hurt us in the end. Track position is obviously important on a road course, but luckily there are some decent passing zones here. We have our work cut out for us tomorrow but anything's possible."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "Obviously disappointed with the results of qualifying today but I think the GoDaddy car has potential. Last year's race showed this is a track you can pass on which will be a darn good thing for us tomorrow. Here you need overall lap time and speed because it's not a normal road course because there's a long straight away you can draft someone on. But you're also going to need to finish. A lot of people have gone off and it's easy to lock up the brakes and make mistakes here and there. We'll do our best tomorrow and hopefully have a strong result.
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Window World Cares): "The car felt okay really, I thought we'd be up a bit further with the Window World Cares car maybe in the Firestone Fast Six but the last lap I screwed up in the last corner. We could have gone quicker but don't think we could have gone right up to the front. We're obviously not that far up so we'll do our homework tonight and see what the other guys tried and come out a bit stronger tomorrow. Anything can happen in the race. Overall not too unhappy we're in the top 10 and we can do something from there.
MARK JOHNSON (KVRT - Lotus General Manager): About E. J. Viso): "We are very disappointed that we had a mechanical failure today which ended up with E. J. crashing through no fault of his own. The team takes 100 percent responsibility for what happened today. We are all working hard to help E. J. overcome the bad luck that has hampered his performance at the start of this season, so today's problem is even more frustrating."
Qualifying Saturday for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.536 mile(s) Sao Paulo Street Circuit, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 01:21.8958 (111.478)
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