IndyCar road course ace Will Power turned a lap of 59.5771s to secure the pole position for Sunday's Honda Indy Toronto.
Power beat the Ganassi duo of Scott Dixon and points leader Dario Franchitti. Mike Conway showed that his win in Long Beach was no fluke by qualifying 4th for Andretti Autosport.
Graham Rahal will start 5th for Ganassi's satellite team and Oriol Servia was 6th for Newman/Haas.
Sebastian Bourdais will start 7th for Dale Coyne Racing and will start next to Ryan Hunter-Reay who was 8th. Alex Tagliani and Ryan Briscoe rounded out the top-10.
Saturday’s effort marked Power’s fifth pole position in 10 IZOD IndyCar Series races this season.
In the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round, Power was clocked at 59.5771 seconds around the 11-turn, 1.76-mile street course in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda. He has won the pole for all five road and street course races so far this season and has won poles at eight consecutive road and street events dating back to last season.
This one, though, was the first pole at Toronto for the native of Toowoomba, Australia who has won the race at Exhibition Place twice in his career.
“Man, we really had to work hard for that in the Verizon car," said Power. "It's really good to win a pole here. I've never won a pole here in Toronto and I love this place. This is such a physical track — it's a real driver's track with all the different surfaces and all the bumps, you really need to wring it's neck out there, and that's what I love about it. When you turn a fast lap here, you're really just exhausted."
"To get a fast lap out of this track, you just have to wring its neck like no other track around, and you're exhausted by the time you're finished," said Power. "That's the great thing about IndyCar – we're not on these super-smooth, high-grip surfaces with a heap of downforce. You've really got to drive these things. It's good to get a pole here – I've never had a pole here. We went fast on a set of scuffed Firestone alternate tires. The reds definitely had a lot more grip, and they're just a nice tire. It will be interesting in the race tomorrow to see if people run two sets of primaries or two sets of alternates, so there's a load to think about tonight."
The bumpiness of this circuit makes Toronto one of the most challenging on the series. "The bumpiness is somewhere between the old Brazil and the new Brazil," said Franchitti.
POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske, PEAK Performance Pole Award winner): "Man, we really had to work hard for that in the Verizon car. It's really good to win a pole here. I've never won a pole here in Toronto and I love this place. This is such a physical track – it's a real driver's track with all the different surfaces and all the bumps, you really need to wring it's neck out there and that's what I love about it. When you turn a fast lap here, you're really just exhausted. It's great to be on pole here but this is a track where you can really pass a lot of cars and move forward from the back, so we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified second): "Both Target cars were good…just missed a little. We had a tenth on the last lap and I gave it back on turns five and six. So at least we're in the hunting distance of the 12 car…I'm confident that both Target cars will race better, just have to get a clean race together, and hopefully get through the two-way starts and stay at the front and maybe go for a win." (About wanting to win): "We definitely need a win. Obviously with Dario and Will, Will started first and Dario started third, it's tough. Those are the guys that were racing in the championship, and we really need them to have some bad luck. I don't wish it against my teammate, but obviously that's the only thing that's going to get us back into the race. We're confident that we have good cars, we've had good cars all season, we just haven't had the finishes and the points. I'm happy that we've had the speed, but we're going to try to get the results now."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing, qualified third): "It's tough out there, it's very close. I think my car was pretty fast, I just had to get into that rhythm of making that brake in that one place…I just missed a little bit and you can see the difference. But it's close, and that's part of the IZOD IndyCar Series, you can come so, so close, but you have to do a good job."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Andretti Autosport, qualified fourth):"You always try to challenge on the exit of turn eight to get a final bit of speed, but I got a little too close. Luckily nothing was bent. You always look for that edge to try to get in there, so it was a close one. Apart from that, it's been a good day. Yesterday was tough for me. We worked hard last night to come into this morning strong. To be in the Firestone Fast Six, I'm pretty happy with that. Thanks to the Team @FollowAndretti guys for their good work."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central, qualified fifth): "I think the Service Central guys are working really hard. I think my guys recovered so well this weekend. In the first session we didn’t know what to think. We were 17th but we thought we were better than that. In second session, we moved to 11th and progressively all weekend we've moved up, so qualifying fifth feels really good. We’re on a place we feel like we can make up some points and we've put ourselves in a good position."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing, qualified sixth): "I'm happy because in practice earlier today, we didn't seem to have it. But when you make it in the top-six, you want more. The Telemundo car was awesome today. I think we have to be happy to make the first cut. We'll see what happens tomorrow."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda, qualified eighth): "It's disappointing really. The DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop car has been awesome this weekend. We threw a change at it there, and I just couldn't get a lap together. It was a mixture of things. This track is hard to put together with all the bumps. From eighth, we can work from there, and that's what we'll do. I'm looking to get the team a great result this weekend."
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified ninth): "It was a good recovery. This morning we went in a different direction, but I think we have the car back where we want it. The Bowers & Wilkins team, obviously, is a one-car team so we are very limited on the changes we can do. We got a lot of understeer in the second set of tires in qualifying. We couldn't even match our lap from the first segment. It's a little bit disappointing. I think we have a car to do a bit better. Starting ninth, anything is possible. The team knows what to do to get a more consistent race car. We'll try to stay away from attrition and make it on the podium. You need to be pretty much on your toes here in Toronto. It's known to be a race where a lot of things happen because you are always are exposed to the attrition. At the same time, you don't want to be in the front and get caught on a full-course yellow. I did that in 2009. I was leading the race and I got caught on that last pit stop. You are never set in this particular race until the checkered flag drops. Anything can happen, and we'll try to be on the right end of the strategy tomorrow."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske, qualified 10th): "Unfortunately, we just had a disappointing second session of qualifying. We were strong in the first session in the PPG Automotive Refinish car but with the length of time between the sessions, we didn't touch the car, but when we went back out we just lost a ton of rear grip. It's tough to not make it into the Fast Six, but we'll make sure we have a good car for the race tomorrow and see how we can work our way forward."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, No. 3 Penske Truck Rental): "We had a good lap going in the Penske Truck Rental car, unfortunately we went a little too far in what we were trying to do. It was a bit difficult for us on the red tires, which is too bad, because we definitely have a car that is better than 12th on the starting grid. We have been quick all weekend. Tomorrow should be good, though. We just need to have a good day in the pits, drive smart and let the race come to us."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 06 Sprott Newman Haas Racing): "If we had a P13 car, I wouldn't be disappointed, but we didn't have a 13th-placed car. We just couldn't get a lap when we needed it. One of the problems we had was the telemetry on the car failed so we didn't know how much fuel we have left in the car so when I crossed the line, there was enough time for one more lap, but we didn't know if we had a enough fuel, and the last thing you want to do is run out of gas. Even coming out of Turn 8 and into Turn 9, I was half a tenth quicker than my quickest lap, so we had the pace. If we had one lap more of fuel or a little cleaner run of it, we would have advanced."
PAUL TRACY (No. 8 Make A Wish Dragon Racing): "Extremely frustrated with how today went. The Make a Wish Dragon Racing car was pretty good, but we were not able to get a clear lap during qualifying. Every time I had a good lap I came up to traffic and could not get past, which made it frustrating. This is not where we want to start, but tomorrow we will try to do something different than everybody else and cycle our way up to the front."
TONY KANAAN (No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus): "It was a tough qualifying. We left with seven minutes to go and on my fast lap I got blocked twice and missed out on moving up to Q2. I believe that I had a top-six car, so it's a shame that we're going to start mid-pack. My car is good for the race, so it's going to be a matter of keeping myself out of trouble during the race to get a good result for the Geico KV-Lotus guys".
E.J. VISO (No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus: "We definitely didn't deserve the qualifying results we got as a team. We showed all weekend that we had cars to be in the top-10. I was unable to find that extra bit of grip with the red tires that the other drivers found and I think this is something that really cost us. The race tomorrow is going to be a long one, so we need to plan to have a conservative approach to it. It can be a little bit chaotic so I need to try and stay out of any issues and just get to the end of the race."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus): "It was a disappointing qualifying session. In practice this morning we struggled with the balance and grip of the car. We tried some different things in qualifying and the car was better, but it wasn't enough to get through the first round of qualifying. We will have review everything tonight and work hard to come up with some changes for the race tomorrow."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy): "The GoDaddy car felt OK, so I'm a little surprised by our speed. But as we saw last year, you can still put together a decent race if you stay out of trouble and stay patient."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Dr Pepper): "I'm obviously disappointed with the qualifying results for the No. 26 car. I'm really struggling to find the back end of the car on entry that works for me. We'll work on it tonight and the race is a different story – a lot can happen here in 85 laps. Hopefully the Dr Pepper guys can pull some magic for me in the pits and we can work our way up in the field."
Firestone Fast Six Results
7. (19) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Honda, 59.8239 (105.610)
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 59.8715 (105.526)
9. (77) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 59.8901 (105.493)
10. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 59.9020 (105.472)
11. (22) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 59.9636 (105.364)
12. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.0115 (105.280)
13. (06) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 59.8346 (105.591)
14. (14) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 59.9869 (105.323)
15. (34) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 59.9389 (105.407)
16. (82) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.0149 (105.274)
17. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.0806 (105.159)
18. (59) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.1191 (105.091)
19. (5) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.1003 (105.124)
20. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.1542 (105.030)
21. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.3438 (104.700)
22. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.4472 (104.521)
23. (18) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.6226 (104.219)
24. (8) Paul Tracy, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.4524 (104.512)
25. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.6463 (104.178)
26. (24) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 01:00.7917 (103.929)