Vautier wins Sukup 100 Firestone Indy Lights pole
Tristan Vautier's first qualifying lap of 160.066 mph on the 0.894-mile Iowa Speedway oval paved the way to a two-lap average of 159.973 mph (40.2368 seconds) and the pole position for the Firestone Indy Lights Sukup 100 on June 23.
Vautier, driving the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports with Curb Agajanian car, earned his third pole of the season -- and second in a row. He went on to win the race last weekend at the Milwaukee Mile.
Esteban Guerrieri will start on the front row for the third time this season, posting a qualifying speed of 159.597 mph (40.3316 seconds). He started from the pole in the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights race at Iowa Speedway.
Victor Carbone, the final qualifier, jumped to third in the No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb Agajanian car to provide the sixth 1-2-3 starting lineup for the team in Firestone Indy Lights. Sebastian Saavedra will join Carbone on Row 2 in the No. 27 Team AFS car.
SUNOCO POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "Yes it was really good, the car was just stuck on the track, it was a bullet. Just had to keep it flat and be careful with my ends, do a good job with the lines I was taking, and I'm really happy. We were good in practice again and good run, another good position with the draw so that was nice even if it doesn't count as much here in Iowa. Very happy and big thanks to the guys, obviously the car matters a lot on this track so my team gave me a great car and so really a big thanks to SSM, very good to have our third pole of the season. But as they say, qualifying is only two laps, tomorrow there is 115 to complete so going to be very tough, going to be a long race, tough race, so we have to stay focused and make the most of the practice we have tomorrow to prepare for the race as best we can. I think the race is going to be very tight. This track, usually you stay flat all lap long, so it's going to very tight. We're 1-2-3 for the team which is very good, and we're all going to be very close, obviously we all have similar cars, so it's going to be very competitive. Going to be very important to be consistent and have a good start, good restart, be good with lap traffic. We're in a good position so I'm looking forward to it.
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentinas/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "It was a good lap and these cars are all very closely matched. It is a good place to start - last year I started first and crashed - so second will hopefully be better for me and the team. I am very proud of everyone at Sam Schmidt Motorsports - qualifying 1-2-3 is very nice. I expect it to be a very good race and there will passing on the high side if people are going to be passing tomorrow. I hope we all have a good race tomorrow and the whole team does well, but I want to be the one to win this week. It will be a long race and we just need to be running at the end - not like last year."
VICTOR CARBONE (No. 3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian): "The car was pretty good. Nothing to complain about at all. It's really important to start up front at a track like this. It can be had to pass here. Hopefully, I'll get a good start. That will be crucial tomorrow. I'll have to see how the race plays out to decide when to pass. Traffic will be a factor in determining that as well."
OLIVER WEBB (No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I like Iowa Speedway. It's challenging. Everyone talks about the bump and getting rid of it. But the bump kind of gives it a little bit of character that people talk about. Without it, people would be comparing the track to Vegas and how easy it would be. The ovals are still my weak thing. We know I can pole and podium on street courses because I've always done them. I just need to work on my oval racing."
JORGE GONCALVEZ (No. 4 Belardi Auto Racing): "I feel pretty good. The car feels much better in qualifying than it did during practice, but I think we still need to do a little bit more for the race. I'll keep working with my engineer and mechanics to prepare for tomorrow. Luckily we have a long practice so we can set [the car] up a bit better for the race.
ALON DAY (No. 9 Belardi Auto Racing): "To be honest, I'm pretty disappointed in qualifying P9. But practice earlier today was really hard, and we've still got a lot to do, unfortunately. Fortunately we do have another practice tomorrow to test the car, so I hope it gets better and we can find the right setup.
MIKE LARRISON (No. 19 Belardi/TruFuel/Royal Oak Charcoal): "We kind of struggled with the car in practice. It was tight. It was a typical qualifying thing. You just put in it on the floor. The car was really good, it just stepped out."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS): "I think we gave it our best qualifying run today. Unfortunately it was not enough for the pole position. This doesn't mean that we can't go out there tomorrow and fight our way through the three guys in front of us. They have shown all season that they are the ones to beat. In the first practice session, we were able to learn a lot about the car. We just need to keep focused and do a good job tomorrow at the start of the race. Thanks to my AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport team for all of their work today."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser): "This was my first time on the track at Iowa Speedway. In the practice session, I felt really good about my car and the track. Today's qualifying did not go quite as well as I was hoping. This is my worst attempt this season starting seventh. It will be a long race tomorrow and we will have the opportunity to warm-up beforehand. The Andretti Autosport guys will work hard tonight so we are able to learn more about the car before the race. I hope to move through the field and finish on the podium."
1. (77) Tristan Vautier, 159.973
2. (11) Esteban Guerrieri, 159.597
3. (3) Victor Carbone, 159.442
4. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, 159.402
5. (22) David Ostella, 158.939
6. (7) Oliver Webb, 158.742
7. (26) Carlos Munoz, 158.737
8. (2) Gustavo Yacaman, 158.017
9. (9) Alon Day, 157.618
10. (28) Anders Krohn, 157.351
11. (4) Jorge Goncalvez, 157.196
12. (86) Chase Austin, 156.969
13. (24) Bryan Clauson, 156.483
14. (76) Juan Pablo Garcia, 156.203
15. (19) Mike Larrison, no speed