IndyCar »

Hinchcliffe claims St Pete Lights pole

James Hinchcliffe will start from the front of the grid as the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season gets underway in St Petersburg.
James Hinchcliffe finally clinched a maiden Firestone Indy Lights pole position after starting from the front row in three races last year when he posted the fastest time in qualifying for the 2010 season-opener in St Petersburg.

The Canadian, debuting with Team Moore Racing after spending 2009 with AFS/Andretti, clocked 1min 06.3497secs in the 60-minute qualifying session to cap a hectic start to the season. He will now be hoping that breaking a run of second-place starts will also lead to a maiden victory after recording a best finish of second at Mid-Ohio in 2009.

“Pole is a fantastic place to start and it's such a great way to start the season,” Hinchcliffe said, “Huge thanks to all the Team Moore guys. Our deal came together really late, but we were able to put together a great group of people. All their hard work paid off. Hopefully, we can keep the car underneath us for 45 laps.”

JK Vernay, making his Firestone Indy Lights debut, will join Hinchcliffe on the front row after a sterling display with the Sam Schmidt Motorsport team led to a lap of 1min 06.4814secs.

"Being on the first row is a good thing, but I really wanted to be on the pole because it is an advantage for the first corner here," the Frenchman commented, "But it's not too bad as we have the performance, and the car is really fast. We worked really well with my engineer, and I know I don't have to take too much risk because I need to score points for the championship, but we will see what happens tomorrow. I'm happy, but it would have been nice to win the pole for my first race."

Bryan Herta Autosport's Sebastian Saavedra and former Champ Car podium finisher Jan Heylen, running with Team E, will share row two after the Colombian was denied a shot at pole by an untimely caution.

"It was a very interesting qualifying session," Saavedra noted, "I had an incredible car coming out of the second practice session but, with the temperature, the track was really slippery. We had to make some changes to compensate, but we were right there. A lot of people were nervous for those last ten minutes and there was a very critical three minutes to go. I was trying to save to try to do my best, but a yellow flag didn't let me. I think third place is good, and I am going to try to keep it safe for the first corner and go for it in the race."

Row three will be an all-British affair after Friday pacesetter Martin Plowman (AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport) was joined by the fast-improving James Winslow, making his debut with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Plowman's AFS/Andretti team-mate Charlie Kimball will share row four with fellow American Jonathan Summerton, making his first Firestone Indy Lights start for Walker Racing, while Canada's Philip Major and Colombian Gustavo Yacaman round out the top ten.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
James Hinchcliffe - Team Moore Racing   [pic credit: IRL/McQueeney]
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe wrecks after contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps of the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads the field down the frontstretch during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Degree Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, raced to a sixth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sage Karam, driver of the #8 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, races to a fifth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, races to a fourth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 races to a second-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power and Takuma Sato crash out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power crashes out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
The field flashes across the start/finish line during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, and Graham Rahal go three-wide going into Turn 1 during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal wins the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday, June 27 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal wins the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday, June 27 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal wins the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Saturday, June 27 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.