Power poles Penske rout of IndyCar opener

Will Power led a dominant display from Team Penske in St Petersburg qualifying

Will Power led a dominant display from Team Penske in St. Petersburg qualifying

Defending Verizon IndyCar Series Champion, Will Power has led all four Penske cars in the Firestone Fast Six qualifying at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The Toowoomba ace and team-mate Simon Pagenaud traded the top spot for most of the final shootout session before Power was able to annex his 1:00.9631 time as the chequers flew.

Pagenaud was 0.3s behind the time of Power with three-time St. Petersburg victor, Helio Castroneves third and Juan Pablo Montoya fourth.

It is Power’s fifth pole position on the streets of St. Pete and his first since 2013 – after establishing the pole time there between 2010 and 2013 inclusively. Such was his dominance in the qualifying session, he topped all three stages.

Early in the race for the Verizon P1 Award, Takuma Sato looked as though he could upset the Penske applecart, however he will now start fifth in front of Sebastien Bourdais who also scraped into the Fast Six.

Power admitted that he was lucky to set the lap time.

“We probably got one lap less than we anticipated, we tried to time it so I was the last car over the line but I’m absolutely stoked to come away with pole position here,” the Queenslander said.

“The fact that all four Penske cars are leading the way shows all the hard work that we’ve done over the winter.

“In the race though, everything has to fall your way, so we’ll see how we go tomorrow.”

Tony Kanaan was the first outside the Fast Six with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden rounding out the 10 for the season opener.

Andretti Autosport’s Simona di Silvestro – the only female in the field – qualified an impressive 11th, whilst former GP2 front runner, Stefano Coletti was the first Rookie in 17th.

The first race with the much talked about new INDYCAR aero kit has seen the field tightly bunched.

The times established throughout the three stanzas of qualifying sees the majority of the field covered by around one second, which sets up a tantalising opening race tomorrow.

QUALIFYING – FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG

1

Will Power

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m00.6931s

2

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m00.7252s

3

Helio Castroneves

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m00.8356s

4

Juan Pablo Montoya

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m00.8532s

5

Takuma Sato

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Honda

1m01.1496s

6

Sebastien Bourdais

KVSH Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.1545s

7

Tony Kanaan

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.1182s

8

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m01.1670s

9

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.2285s

10

Josef Newgarden

CFH Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.2478s

11

Simona de Silvestro

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m01.3657s

12

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m01.4765s

13

Charlie Kimball

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.5727s

14

Carlos Munoz

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m01.4890s

15

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

1m01.5742s

16

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

1m01.5780s

17

Stefano Coletti

KV Racing Technology

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.6727s

18

Sage Karam

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.8011s

19

Luca Filippi

CFH Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

1m01.6736s

20

James Jakes

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

1m01.8323s

21

Jack Hawksworth

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Honda

1m02.0095s

22

Gabby Chaves

Bryan Herta Autosport

Dallara/Honda

1m01.9705s

23

Francesco Dracone

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

1m04.2654s

24

Carlos Huertas

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

1m01.9716s

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