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Sato claims pole position at new-look Edmonton

Servia didn't see it the same way. "With two minutes to go in qualifying, everybody is trying to put a lap together - I'm trying to put a lap together. I was doing my best. With the sessions being so short, everybody runs at the end. We were both trying to put a lap in with a minute to go.

"I don't know if he wanted me to just disappear and give him a chance to do it and not me," continued Servia, who will line up alongside Hunter-Reay in eighth place for the start of the race tomorrow. "He was the one behind and he had a chance to slow down the lap before to build a gap and then go for it on the next lap. I understand why he isn't happy, he was trying to do a quick lap but I happened to be trying to do my quick lap too. I understand his frustration, I was frustrated too."

Tony Kanaan also didn't make it past round 2, while both his KV Racing team mates did. He admitted that: "We started with a different setup and got lost and eventually got behind schedule with our car." However he was happy it had proved a "productive day" for the team: "Not a very good day for me, but a very good day for the team ... I mean, we put two cars in the fast six and got the pole with Taku!"

Kanaan will start alongside road specialist Sebastien Bourdais. "It was a great thing to make the Firestone Fast 12 again for the third straight race," said Bourdais. "We definitely improved on our times from the morning practice sessions. I think being rained out yesterday hurt us a bit because it took away a full day of practice on this new track configuration."

The new track configuration was widely praised, although a lot of drivers struggled with turn 1 and ran off during the various Saturday sessions. The corner was described as being almost as difficult to manage as the now-notorious turn 3 at Toronto that saw so many collisions two weeks ago; given that it will be the focus for the still-disliked double file restarts, the first turn could make for a lot of fireworks on Sunday afternoon.

"It's a technical circuit and pretty intense," described Ryan Briscoe. "It's not easy to piece together a solid lap; there are bumps and different surfaces. And so much time can be gained by braking late, but it's so easy to mess up the braking zones."

"I wasn't thrilled about coming back here on the old track, but now it's actually fun and you can race this - I'm glad to be here," admitted Vitor Meira, who starts from 14th after missing out on getting through to round 2 by just 0.0616s by a last-gasp flying lap from Bourdais. "It's a much better track and the race will be much better. The fans will see a lot of places to pass, there's a lot of hard braking, it's smooth - there's a few places where it's bumpy and slick, but that's airport/road course tracks so you expect that."

One of the most disappointed drivers was Mike Conway, who has traditionally been strong on road and street courses but had no pace here. "We've definitely got work to do. We're just lacking grip," he said. "The tires just never really felt like they're new tires. It's not good to start that far back in the race. There's just no temperature in the tires, so we were trying to generate the heat. We'll see what we can do tonight and hopefully move up the field tomorrow."

Conway was also frustrated by a full course caution in his group's round 1 session that was triggered by Ana Beatriz stopping out on track. Conway had not set a fast time up to this point after gambling on finding better grip later in the 15 minute session, and did not have time when the course went back to green to get his red-wall soft tyres up to optimum temperature in the cool Canadian weather before the chequered flag came out.

Full starting grid, qualifying and practice times and positions available.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Takuma Sato on his way to pole position on the street/road course at Edmonton. July 2011. [Photo credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar media]
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe go wheel-to-wheel during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon streaks across the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon crosses the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power sits on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand prior to track activity during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon leaves pit lane (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon takes the twin chequered flags to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his win in Victory Circle after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The field scatters as the drivers avoid the cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Briscoe at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon and the #9 Target Chip Ganassi team celebrate after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon poses with the trophies after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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