Will Power continued to make pole position his own on IndyCar's street courses in 2011, clinching his fourth straight pole in four races and once again finding himself lining up on the grid for Sunday's race alongside Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay for the second race in succession.
Power's pole position for the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 is the 200th in IndyCar for Team Penske.
Scott Dixon will start from third place for the third time in four races, alongside Power's Penske team mate Ryan Briscoe.
Full qualifying session times
With Will Power exercising his right (as the fastest driver during practice) to opt to run in the later Group 2, that left the 13 'even placed' drivers from practice headed by Simona de Silvestro to run in the first 15-minute session of qualifying.
Early runners Tony Kanaan and Sebastian Saavedra were the first to set times, and were soon joined by Tony Kanaan and James Hinchcliffe as the times started to fill out and positions changed rapidly. Inevitably, Penske's Helio Castroneves soon featured high up the timings as the field started to scrap over finishing in the top six positions in order to advance to the second round, and Simona de Silvestro demonstrated that her practice time was no fluke by going top with six minutes of the session to go.
Graham Rahal was the first to dip into the 1:23s with a little over four minutes to go but was quickly eclipsed first by Takuma Sato and then by Ryan Hunter-Reay as the times started to fall dramatically. Rahal went top again with a little over a minute to go, and shortly afterwards Sebastien Bourdais put in a dramatically improved time to get into the top three although he ended up bumped down a place by Helio Castroneves. James Hinchcliffe just managed to claim fifth, which meant that de Silvestro was edged out to seventh place behind Takuma Sato at the chequered flag and failed to advance to round 2.
Within seconds of Group 1 concluding, JR Hildebrand was out on track to start the Group 2 action. He had the track almost entirely to himself to set a first flying lap just a shade under 1:27 which quickly improved to 1:23.862. James Jakes was next to came out and join him, after missing out on much of practice 2 due to a gearbox issue.
Most of the field held back and came out with ten minutes to go. Scott Dixon, Justin Wilson and Dario Franchitti were the first of the big names to post a time, but their first runs didn't bump Hildebrand off the top spot until Dixon beat his time by 0.32s with a little over six minutes to run, after which the entire field were consistently on personal best laptimes with the exception of EJ Viso, who was sidelined for the whole session after his big crash at the turn 11 hairpin in practice 2, caused by a brake issue.
Will Power hit the top with three minutes remaining ahead of Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Franchitti and Mike Conway all of whom had dipped into the 1:22 times which proved good enough to get them through to round 2 along with Justin Wilson in sixth.
Round 2/Top 12
After a five minute pause to allow everyone to catch their breath, the ten minute round 2 got underway with the remaining 12 cars. First to set a fast time was Ryan Hunter-Reay with a 1:25.827. Scott Dixon, Mike Conway and Ryan Briscoe soon set quicker first laps, but soon the times were rapidly tumbling as tyres got up to proper operating temperature and Hunter-Reay reclaimed the top spot again with a 1:23.461 second lap around.