Power takes ninth St Petersburg pole, McLaughlin qualifies 21st

Will Power

Will Power has claimed pole position for the Grand Prix of St Petersburg while Team Penske team-mate Scott McLaughlin will start from 21st.

It’s the ninth time Power has claimed pole position at the part-airfield part-street course and the 62nd time he will start from the top spot.

The Toowoomba driver sits second on the all-time pole winners behind Mario Andretti who has 67 to his name.

“I thought we had worse tyres than the other guys, I just absolutely nailed it, man,” said Power.

“Really, really good lap. I had to work the wheel hard for that one. So stoked to get the Verizon car on pole again.

“Hopefully we can get Chevy in victory lane again tomorrow, That’d be fantastic.”

Stable-mate McLaughlin was knocked out of Round 1 after setting a 1:01.640s, which put him last in the 12-car Group 1.

The 27-year-old was promoted to 11th in the group after Marco Andretti (Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani) was stripped of his two fastest laps.

Power, meanwhile, was third fastest in Group 2, which saw him move through to Round 2 of Qualifying.

The #12 pilot then set the fastest time in Round 2 to progress through to the Firestone Fast Six along with Colton Herta, Patricio O’Ward, Jack Harvey, James Hinchcliffe, and Alexander Rossi.

That was where Power clocked the fastest time, and despite no one else threatening to beat his best lap, the Australian set an even faster final lap with a 1:00.312s to secure pole position.

“It’s something I love,” he said.

“I just love getting the absolute most out of something and perfecting a craft I’ve been working at for 25 years.”

Series title combatants Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon failed to make it through to the final portion of Qualifying, only setting the eighth and 11th fastest times respectively in Round 2.

Both drivers were left to lament poor qualifying performances on the softer compound ‘red’ tyre.

“That was a little bit strange,” said Dixon.

“Our first qualifying session the car felt really good. I just didn’t really piece it together that well and then we kind of flip-flopped how we did it.

“The first run we dd three on black (hard compound) and four on red (soft compound). We thought the reds came in quick enough but just with how the traffic was, having to slow down, there was really only two laps.

“Each corner I was making the car was getting more grip, but I just needed another lap. It is what it is.

“Our mistake. I think I’m starting 11th and Josef is eighth, that definitely helps us a lot them not qualifying on pole and getting an extra point. If they’re not making the top three then we don’t have to do anything.”

Ninth in the final race of the season will guarantee Dixon his sixth IndyCar Series title.

Despite qualifying down the order, Newgarden remained optimistic that he can fight for the win in the 100-lap affair.

“We took a swing at it for Q2 and it wasn’t the right direction,” he said.

“I definitely had a lot of slides and it just wasn’t clean. I think just putting a clean lap together would have been good to transfer and we just didn’t do the job.

“It makes our programme a little harder for tomorrow, but we’ve still got to go for the win.

“We can win from there. We’ve just made it harder for ourselves, but we can win from there.”

The Grand Prix of St Petersburg gets underway on Monday at 5:30 AEDT.

IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St Petersburg Qualifying

Pos No. Driver Team Time Mph
1 12 Will Power Team Penske 1:01.036 106.165
2 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport 1:01.173 105.929
3 88 Colton Herta Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport 1:01.181 105.914
4 26 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport 1:01.362 105.602
5 60 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing 1:01.367 105.593
6 5 Patricio O’Ward Arrow McLaren SP 1:01.772 104.901
7 14 Sébastien Bourdais A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1:00.810 106.561
8 1 Josef Newgarden Team Penske 1:00.867 106.461
9 21 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing 1:00.883 106.432
10 7 Oliver Askew Arrow McLaren SP 1:00.977 106.269
11 9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 1:01.028 106.18
12 22 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske 1:01.229 105.831
13 30 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1:00.942 106.33
14 20 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing 1:01.160 105.95
15 8 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing 1:00.961 106.296
16 55 Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh 1:01.163 105.946
17 15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1:01.145 105.976
18 18 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan 1:01.179 105.917
19 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 1:01.173 105.929
20 4 Charlie Kimball A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1:01.242 105.809
21 3 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske 1:01.640 105.125
22 10 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 1:01.522 105.327
23 98 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani 1:01.683 105.053
24 59 Max Chilton Carlin 1:21.790 79.226

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