Penske driver Will Power secured pole position for the IndyCar season-opener at St Petersburg, his seventh pole in eight years at the circuit.
The Australian set a best time of 1m01.064s in the final, ‘fast six’ segment of qualifying to beat Ganassi’s Scott Dixon to pole.
Dixon, who had topped two of three practice sessions prior to qualifying, managed the fastest time of anyone during qualifying and topped his opening two sessions, but could not replicate that form in the final part and instead had to settle for second.
Schmidt Peterson’s James Hinchcliffe, winner of the event in 2013, will line up on the inside of the second row ahead of Penske new recruit Josef Newgarden, making it an even split of Hondas and Chevrolets in the top four.
Takuma Sato, the only driver other than Power to have claimed pole at St Petersburg in the series’ Dallara IR12 era, will line up fifth ahead of Tony Kanaan.
Briton Max Chilton just missed out on making it to the ‘fast six’, and will start from row four alongside fellow former Marussia F1 driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi.
Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal rounded out the top 10 to complete an impressive session for Honda, with eight of the cars in the top 10 powered by one of the Japanese supplier’s engines.
Ryan Hunter Reay missed out on a chance to make it into the final part of qualifying after he clipped the wall, while current champion Simon Pagenaud also had a difficult day and will start Sunday’s race from 13th.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Sebastien Bourdais was responsible for the only stoppage during the session, after he locked up at Turn 13 and went straight on into the wall.
Follow the opening round of the IndyCar season with Autosport Race Centre Live from 5:30pm UK time on Sunday.
|1||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|2||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda|
|3||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara/Honda|
|4||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|5||Takuma Sato||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda|
|6||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda|
|7||Max Chilton||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda|
|8||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Herta||Dallara/Honda|
|9||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda|
|10||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Dallara/Honda|
|11||Carlos Munoz||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|12||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda|
|13||Spencer Pigot||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|14||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|15||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda|
|16||Helio Castroneves||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|17||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara/Honda|
|18||Ed Jones||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda|
|19||J.R. Hildebrand||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|20||Conor Daly||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet|
|21||Sebastien Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda|