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Pigot tops dramatic Indy qualifying as Alonso, Hinchcliffe miss guaranteed spot

Sunday 19th May, 2019 - 9:41am

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Fernando Alonso

Spencer Pigot was fastest on a dramatic first day of Indianapolis 500 qualifying as Fernando Alonso and James Hinchcliffe failed to make the top 30 guaranteed starting spots.

The two-time world drivers’ champion and 2016 Indy 500 pole-sitter will both face the pressure of a six-driver Sunday shootout to fill the final three places on the grid for the 103rd running of the classic race.

The other Saturday non-qualifiers were Patricio O’Ward (#31 Carlin Chevrolet), Kyle Kaiser (#32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet), Jordan King (#42 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda), and Max Chilton (#59 Carlin Chevrolet), meaning that four out of the six were on the outside despite running the more powerful Chevrolet engine.

Alonso (#66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet) suffered a punctured right rear tyre during his initial qualifying run after a first lap that would have put him on the edge of the top 10.

But in four subsequent runs, his best four-lap average of 227.224mph (365.682km/h) fell 0.020mph (0.032km/h) short of the mark set by 30th place qualifier Pippa Mann (#39 Clauson Marshall Racing Chevrolet).

“It was a very difficult day; a difficult week in general, but a very difficult day,” said Alonso.

“After the punctured tyre, we waited until later in the afternoon to see if the conditions would improve.

“We improved our speed slightly, but not enough to reach the top 30.

“We’ll try to do something overnight, but there’s not much we can do now to change our speed.

“We have to execute on the run tomorrow the best we can and try to do a good job.

“Hopefully it will be enough to be in the top three of the six.”

Hinchcliffe (#5 Honda), who famously failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 2018, faces the prospect of missing the most important IndyCar Series race of the season for the second year in a row.

The Canadian crashed heavily in Turn 2 on the first lap of his qualifying run, but was quickly cleared by medical staff to return to competition.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports rolled out a spare Honda-powered car, but Hinchcliffe was unable to post the necessary speed to make the top 30.

Spencer Pigot (#21 Chevrolet) of Ed Carpenter Racing was the day’s fastest qualifier with a four-lap average of 230.083mph (370.283km/h).

He edged last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Will Power, who logged a 230.081mph (370.280km/h) in the #12 Team Penske Chevrolet.

Weather permitting, Saturday’s fastest nine drivers will make another qualifying run on Sunday to determine the order of the first three rows of the grid.

However, rain is in the forecast and IndyCar Series officials have already announced that the Last Row Shootout will take precedent over the Fast Nine if inclement weather is a factor.

If Sunday is rained out, the Last Row Shootout will be contested on Monday, and Pigot will be awarded pole position.

Besides Pigot and Power, Simon Pagenaud (#22 Team Penske Chevrolet), Josef Newgarden (#2 Team Penske Chevrolet), Colton Herta (#88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda), Ed Jones (#63 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet), Ed Carpenter (#20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet), Alexander Rossi (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda) and Sebastien Bourdais (#18 DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan Honda) are set to fight for the pole.

Chevrolet took six of the top nine speeds, including the top four.

Pigot admitted that he would not be sad to see Sunday rained out to guarantee his first career IndyCar Series pole.

“Obviously we love driving at these speeds and qualifying for the Indy 500 is such a thrill,” said the American.

“If it doesn’t rain, it’s not the worst thing because we’ve got a great car.

“Ed Carpenter Racing has put together an absolute rocket ship for me.

“I don’t mind if we go again, but I won’t be too upset if it does rain.”

Power is the active leader with 56 Indy car poles, but he has never started from the top spot in the Indianapolis 500 and was not picky about what he wants out of the weather.

“Either way it’s good, but this is definitely a place I want to be on pole,” declared the Queenslander.

“It’s one of the only places where I don’t have a pole and I’d love to have a shot tomorrow.

“I feel like there’s about five drivers that have a chance.

“It’s going to be all about the wind and the gusts and the track is probably going to pick the pole position.

“I look forward to it and really hope I get to have a shot.”

James Davison has qualified 15th in the one-off #33 DCR w/ Byrd-Hollinger-Belardi Honda while Scott Dixon ended up 18th in the #9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Sunday’s schedule currently sees separate practice sessions for the Fast Nine and Last Row contenders from 0015 AEST (Monday morning), followed by Last Row Qualifications at 0215 AEST, Fast Nine Qualifications at 0315 AEST, and an all-in practice session at 0515 AEST.

Results: Qualifying: Day 1

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3 Lap 4 Total time Avg speed Status
mph km/h
1 21 Spencer Pigot D/C/F 38.9948 39.1172 39.1649 39.1886 2:36.4655 230.083 370.283  
2 12 Will Power D/C/F 39.0569 39.0969 39.1544 39.1584 2:36.4666 230.081 370.279  
3 22 Simon Pagenaud D/C/F 39.0420 39.1539 39.1768 39.2483 2:36.6210 229.854 369.914  
4 2 Josef Newgarden D/C/F 39.1083 39.1758 39.1681 39.2402 2:36.6924 229.749 369.745  
5 88 Colton Herta D/H/F 39.1660 39.2037 39.2797 39.2285 2:36.8779 229.478 369.309  
6 63 Ed Jones D/C/F 38.9585 39.1186 39.2825 39.5439 2:36.9035 229.440 369.248  
7 20 Ed Carpenter D/C/F 39.1257 39.2107 39.2890 39.3404 2:36.9658 229.349 369.101  
8 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 39.1713 39.2488 39.2778 39.3238 2:37.0217 229.268 368.971  
9 18 Sebastien Bourdais D/H/F 39.1771 39.1713 39.6865 39.3078 2:37.3427 228.800 368.218  
10 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F 39.1941 39.3151 39.3995 39.4642 2:37.3729 228.756 368.147  
11 25 Conor Daly D/H/F 39.2626 39.3879 39.4040 39.4143 2:37.4688 228.617 367.923  
12 3 Helio Castroneves D/C/F 39.2083 39.3775 39.4600 39.4879 2:37.5337 228.523 367.772  
13 7 Marcus Ericsson D/H/F 39.2987 39.4361 39.3971 39.4096 2:37.5415 228.511 367.753  
14 30 Takuma Sato D/H/F 39.3392 39.4293 39.4969 39.4220 2:37.6874 228.300 367.413  
15 33 James Davison D/H/F 39.2590 39.4561 39.4936 39.4970 2:37.7057 228.273 367.370  
16 14 Tony Kanaan D/C/F 39.3649 39.4391 39.4943 39.5133 2:37.8116 228.120 367.124  
17 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 39.3761 39.4162 39.4298 39.6005 2:37.8226 228.104 367.098  
18 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 39.3605 39.4468 39.4603 39.5580 2:37.8256 228.100 367.091  
19 77 Oriol Servia D/H/F 39.3764 39.4116 39.5047 39.6082 2:37.9009 227.991 366.916  
20 23 Charlie Kimball D/C/F 39.4210 39.4892 39.4822 39.5611 2:37.9535 227.915 366.794  
21 48 JR Hildebrand D/C/F 39.3381 39.4374 39.5441 39.6388 2:37.9584 227.908 366.782  
22 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay D/H/F 39.3605 39.4598 39.5725 39.5871 2:37.9799 227.877 366.732  
23 19 Santino Ferrucci D/H/F 39.4230 39.4593 39.5772 39.6220 2:38.0815 227.731 366.498  
24 4 Matheus Leist D/C/F 39.4579 39.5109 39.5662 39.5561 2:38.0911 227.717 366.475  
25 60 Jack Harvey D/H/F 39.3759 39.4859 39.5400 39.7045 2:38.1063 227.695 366.440  
26 42 Jordan King D/H/F 39.5103 39.5254 39.5701 39.6344 2:38.2402 227.502 366.129  
27 81 Ben Hanley D/C/F 39.4854 39.5270 39.5860 39.6558 2:38.2542 227.482 366.097  
28 26 Zach Veach D/H/F 39.4136 39.5770 39.6792 39.6825 2:38.3523 227.341 365.870  
29 10 Felix Rosenqvist D/H/F 39.5183 39.5561 39.6150 39.6940 2:38.3834 227.297 365.799  
30 39 Pippa Mann D/C/F 39.4099 39.5814 39.7379 39.6911 2:38.4203 227.244 365.714  
31 88 Colton Herta D/H/F 39.1869 39.2732 39.3191 39.4036 2:37.1828 229.033 368.593 Retired
32 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 39.2116 39.2801 39.3881 39.4518 2:37.3316 228.816 368.244 Retired
33 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F 39.2083 39.4134 39.6596 0.0000 1:58.2813 228.269 367.363 Waved Off
34 98 Marco Andretti D/H/F 39.3436 39.5281 0.0000 0.0000 1:18.8717 228.219 367.283 Waved Off
35 3 Helio Castroneves D/C/F 39.3339 39.4492 39.4705 39.5304 2:37.7840 228.160 367.188 Failed Attempt
36 5 James Hinchcliffe D/H/F 39.4461 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0:39.4461 228.159 367.186 Waved Off
37 25 Conor Daly D/H/F 39.4065 39.4404 39.5280 39.5745 2:37.9494 227.921 366.803 Retired
38 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 39.4031 39.4315 39.5284 39.6109 2:37.9739 227.886 366.747 Retired
39 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 39.3793 39.6078 39.5751 39.7530 2:38.3152 227.394 365.955 Withdrawn
40 66 Fernando Alonso D/C/F 39.4738 39.6072 39.6613 39.6916 2:38.4339 227.224 365.682 Bumped
41 26 Zach Veach D/H/F 39.4838 39.6490 39.6460 39.6705 2:38.4493 227.202 365.646 Failed Attempt
42 10 Felix Rosenqvist D/H/F 39.4707 39.6126 39.6845 39.6841 2:38.4519 227.198 365.640 Withdrawn
43 48 JR Hildebrand D/C/F 39.3756 39.4908 39.8213 39.7751 2:38.4628 227.183 365.616 Bumped
44 42 Jordan King D/H/F 39.5432 39.6040 39.6720 39.6980 2:38.5172 227.105 365.490 Retired
45 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 39.6161 39.6358 39.6115 39.6605 2:38.5239 227.095 365.474 Retired
46 31 Patricio O’Ward D/C/F 39.5351 39.6360 39.6156 39.7585 2:38.5452 227.065 365.426 Withdrawn
47 66 Fernando Alonso D/C/F 39.5100 39.5596 39.7772 39.7435 2:38.5903 227.000 365.321 Bumped
48 5T James Hinchcliffe D/H/F 39.5843 39.6441 39.6938 39.6990 2:38.6212 226.956 365.250 Failed Attempt
49 24 Sage Karam D/C/F 39.4864 39.6450 39.7297 39.7637 2:38.6248 226.951 365.242 Failed Attempt
50 59 Max Chilton D/C/F 39.5426 39.6306 39.7471 39.7160 2:38.6363 226.934 365.215 Withdrawn
51 31 Patricio O’Ward D/C/F 39.6065 39.6441 39.6835 39.7279 2:38.6620 226.897 365.155 Bumped
52 24 Sage Karam D/C/F 39.4393 39.6974 39.7884 39.7551 2:38.6802 226.871 365.113 Failed Attempt
53 48 JR Hildebrand D/C/F 39.2651 39.6658 39.6522 40.1247 2:38.7078 226.832 365.051 Retired
54 10 Felix Rosenqvist D/H/F 39.5616 39.7418 39.7241 39.7456 2:38.7731 226.739 364.901 Withdrawn
55 4 Matheus Leist D/C/F 39.5514 39.5246 39.6225 40.0829 2:38.7814 226.727 364.882 Retired
56 81 Ben Hanley D/C/F 39.5568 39.6378 39.7259 39.8856 2:38.8061 226.692 364.825 Bumped
57 42 Jordan King D/H/F 39.7900 39.4961 39.8554 39.6850 2:38.8265 226.662 364.777 Retired
58 5T James Hinchcliffe D/H/F 39.6008 39.6904 39.6559 39.9725 2:38.9196 226.530 364.565 Failed Attempt
59 59 Max Chilton D/C/F 39.6466 39.7373 39.7990 39.8600 2:39.0429 226.354 364.281 Failed Attempt
60 59 Max Chilton D/C/F 39.6954 39.7075 39.7335 39.9297 2:39.0661 226.321 364.228 Failed Attempt
61 32 Kyle Kaiser D/C/F 39.7538 39.7301 39.8555 0.0000 1:59.3394 226.245 364.106 Waved Off
62 66 Fernando Alonso D/C/F 39.3935 39.7859 40.2490 0.0000 1:59.4284 226.077 363.836 Waved Off
63 81 Ben Hanley D/C/F 39.5982 39.7666 39.9345 40.0282 2:39.3275 225.950 363.631 Bumped
64 32 Kyle Kaiser D/C/F 39.6294 39.7515 39.8126 40.1565 2:39.3500 225.918 363.580 Failed Attempt
65 24 Sage Karam D/C/F 39.8197 39.8402 39.8712 0.0000 1:59.5311 225.883 363.523 Waved Off
66 24 Sage Karam D/C/F 39.5567 39.7184 39.9054 40.2065 2:39.3870 225.865 363.494 Failed Attempt
67 32 Kyle Kaiser D/C/F 39.7532 39.8687 39.9364 0.0000 1:59.5583 225.831 363.440 Waved Off
68 31 Patricio O’Ward D/C/F 39.7380 39.7721 39.8650 40.1098 2:39.4849 225.727 363.272 Bumped
69 66 Fernando Alonso D/C/F 39.6527 39.9934 40.0639 40.2100 2:39.9200 225.113 362.284 Bumped
70 66 Fernando Alonso D/C/F 39.6191 39.6813 39.7358 41.3816 2:40.4178 224.414 361.159 Failed Attempt
71 24 Sage Karam D/C/F 39.8961 39.7744 41.0345 46.1755 2:46.8805 215.723 347.173 Withdrawn
72 5T James Hinchcliffe D/H/F 39.7604 39.7930 39.9814 51.5065 2:51.0413 210.475 338.727 Failed Attempt
73 42 Jordan King D/H/F 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0:00.0000     No Attempt

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

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