French ace Simon Pagenaud has led a Team Penske sweep of the front row in qualifying for the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix at Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park.
Pagenaud, attempting to consolidate his points lead in the series, aced the Fast Six that determines the front three rows.
He trumped team-mate Will Power by .21s while Josef Newgarden (Ed Carpenter Racing) was third best just .30s behind after completing three laps in the tense six-minute session.
The last gasp lap saw Pagenaud, who recorded his maiden win for Team Penske at Long Beach last weekend, set a record lap of 1:06.72s.
“We put the least amount of fuel in and tried to save the tires by only going one lap in each segment (of qualifying).,” Pagenaud said.
“That last lap, I just dug deep and that was one of the best feelings that I have ever had driving.”
Power was satisfied with his qualifying effort as he attempts to kick-start his season.
“I’m happy to be starting on the front row with the Verizon car,” Power said.
“We’ll see if we can get a podium, a win, something to try and close that points gap so we have a shot at the end of the year.”
Chip Ganassi gun Scott Dixon was fourth best ahead of KVSH Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais who realised his best qualifying session of the season.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver Graham Rahal was sixth.
Helio Castroneves, searching for his first win this season, was seventh ahead of James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball.
Opening round winner Juan Montoya failed to advance to the second round of qualifying and will start from 21st.
See below for full starting grid
|21||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||01:07.56|