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Franchitti on Infineon pole, two drivers hospitalised

Dario Franchitti saved his best for last to secure pole for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway on Saturday.

Franchitti's final lap in the Firestone Fast Six shoot-out earned him the PEAK Performance Pole Award with a lap of 1 minute 16.7987 seconds around the 2.303-mile circuit during the 10-minute Firestone Fast Six shoot-out.

“Today I had a pretty good car,” said the Chip Ganassi Racing man. “In a couple corners I had to commit to them and hang on, but in general the car was really good. I'm very happy to get the Target car on the pole for the race.”

Franchitti, the only driver to participate in all seven Firestone Fast Six sessions this season, will be joined on the front row by Ryan Briscoe, who had set the bar early in the third and final qualifying session with a lap of 1m 16.8485s in the #6 Team Penske car.

"I had a pretty bad practice this morning; I spent more time in the dirt than on the tarmac. But I had a feeling we were in decent shape going into qualifying. The car felt good from the get-go and got better and I was right back into the groove,” Briscoe noted.

“I felt confident going through the session with our strategy on tyres. I could have gone quicker in the Firestone Fast Six, but I just didn't get a clean lap together and I had a locking issue with the brakes.

“I was frustrated I couldn't get the pole, but Dario was really quick and he certainly did a good job on used reds."

Helio Castroneves and Marco Andretti will start on row two while Hideki Mutoh and Graham Rahal round out the top six.

"Qualifying was pretty exciting today, and I think the race shouldn't be much different,” said Castroneves. “I'm a bit disappointed as I thought the Team Penske car was better than third place, and I'm sure Ryan feels the same way. During the first session, we had a problem with our fuel pressure which the team was able to fix for Q2. Then in Q2, we had an issue with the throttle, which they were able to fix for Q3, so I guess taking all of this into consideration we did ok. The important thing is that the car is great and I'm feeling confident going into tomorrow's race."

"It wasn't that bad of a qualifying effort for the Venom boys,” Andretti added. “We're getting there. We're just learning how to use the red tyres to our advantage."

Points' leader Scott Dixon will line up tenth on the grid, behind Tony Kanaan, Franck Montagny, who is making his IndyCar Series debut this weekend, and Mike Conway.

"Qualifying was pretty dismal, actually. I'm really frustrated. We've been chasing a brake problem from this morning,” Dixon explained. “Every time you really start to push the car and you go to brake later, we would lock the rears brakes. We could see that there was something going on, we're just not sure what it is.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Indy Racing League. 9 May 2009. Pole Day. Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapois, Indiana. Dario Franchitti.
Ed Jones, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar [Credit: Ed Jones PR]
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones celebrates winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Indy Lights action
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Santiago Urrutia - Schmidt Petersen Motorsport
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]

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Joe - Unregistered

August 23, 2009 11:19 AM

Scary accident no doubt. Viso was lucky to escape injury too seemingly thanks to his reflexes! Nelson also has a broken right leg in addition to the open fracture on his left foot. Here's hoping for full & speedy recoveries to both Nelson & Will after that hard hit :(

Don - Unregistered

August 23, 2009 4:08 PM

A scary accident indeed! Power has 2 broken vertebrae. Nelson is going to have a long recovery, but he is lucky to be alive. This could have been a very tragic incident.



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