NEWS

Hinchcliffe scores provisional Indy pole in 'fast nine', Dixon 12th

Scott Dixon will start next weekend's Indianapolis 500 from 10th or below, after a difficult qualifying run in his Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet saw him end this morning's session in 12th place. 

 

Provisional pole was claimed by James Hinchcliffe — bouncing back from his huge crash at the same venue 12 months ago with a comfortably achieved 230.946. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and Townsend Bell completed the top five.

 

Dixon made a run with just under 30-minutes left in the lengthy session, surrendering his best times — which had only been good enough for 15th at the time.

 

The run, which would prove to be his last, was marred by a difficult run through his first stab at turn one, eventually resulting in the reigning series champion only rising to 13th in the order with an average speed of 229.497mph.

 

Dixon's run was soon followed by Will Power's last, who was able to place his car second in the order behind Hinchcliffe. Dixon's sole hope for making it into the top-nine, who will shoot out tomorrow for pole position, would be if enough of his key rivals in the top nine would relinquish their positions by gambling their provisional spot with a final run in the closing minutes.

 

As it turned out, Dixon did make one position, ending the provisional session in 12th.

 

Two of the final cars out on track were teammates Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Andretti went first, throwing down a consistent run to knock Hunter-Reay out of ninth. Hunter-Reay however bit back at Andretti immediately, vaulting from 10th to an incredible second and in turn knocking Andretti down to 10th and out of the fast nine running.

 

The drama continued, as Mikhael Aleshin nipped out of pit lane with mere seconds to spare before the end of the session. Aleshin's last roll of the dice paid off, after the driver placed sixth, subsequently knocking out rookie Alexander Rossi.

 

The 'fast nine' will battle tomorrow for pole position for the 100th Indianapolis 500, with the remainder of the field only able to fight for places 10 and below.

 

Photo: sourced

 

Results

 

1. James Hinchcliffe

2. Ryan Hunter-Reay

3. Will Power

4. Helio Castroneves

5. Townsend Bell

6. Mikhail Aleshin

7. Josef Newgarden

8. Carlos Munoz

9. Simon Pagenaud

10. Alexander Rossi

11. Marco Andretti

12. Scott Dixon

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