Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais took pole position at Phoenix for the first oval race of the 2018 IndyCar championship.
The Dale Coyne Racing driver was the last man on track under the new oval qualifying system, in which drivers complete their two qualifying laps in reverse championship order.
Bourdais’ effort knocked Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud off the top spot with an average speed of 188.539 mph.
Though track conditions generally favoured those running later in the session, Pagenaud’s speed held up against 11 of the 12 drivers running after him. He was just 0.081mph slower than Bourdais and 0.131mph faster than Will Power.
Alexander Rossi finished fourth quickest, ahead of James Hinchcliffe and rookie Robert Wickens.
Power and Pagenaud showed Penske’s potential on the short oval, but team-mate Josef Newgarden couldn’t get his lap together to reflect that.
The reigning champion ended the session seventh, just 0.02mph faster than Ryan Hunter-Reay in eighth.
Tony Kanaan and series debutant Pietro Fittipaldi completed the top 10.
|1||Sebastien Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda||39.0285s|
|2||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.0811s|
|3||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.3523s|
|4||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||0.3584s|
|5||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara/Honda||0.5880s|
|6||Robert Wickens||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara/Honda||0.6690s|
|7||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.6867s|
|8||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||0.8099s|
|9||Tony Kanaan||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.8339s|
|10||Pietro Fittipaldi||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda||0.8440s|
|11||Ed Jones||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda||0.8949s|
|12||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Dallara/Honda||0.9803s|
|13||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Dallara/Honda||1.1902s|
|14||Kyle Kaiser||Juncos Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||1.2124s|
|15||Spencer Pigot||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||1.3990s|
|16||Matheus Leist||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet||1.4430s|
|17||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda||1.4459s|
|18||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||1.5710s|
|19||Gabby Chaves||Harding Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||1.6410s|
|20||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta||Dallara/Honda||1.8064s|
|23||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||2.8440s|