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Briscoe tops qualifying, Franchitti starts first

Justin Wilson and Simon Pagenaud make up the second row of the grid, with Wilson feeling that he could have made it into the final six as well if not for a few errors in his round 2 flying lap.

"I made a little mistake in the last qualifying session and I think it cost me advancing to the Firestone Fast Six," he said. "With all the Chevrolet's ahead of us having to drop 10 spots on the grid tomorrow that now puts us P3 to start the race on Sunday, which is a huge advantage at a track like Long Beach.

"Sometimes things don't go your way and other times things are sometimes handed to you," he added. "Today it worked out in our favour. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow and think we have an excellent chance at a top three finish."

Pagenaud was ruing all the time that they had lost because of the stormy conditions on Friday. "Unfortunately, with the rain, we couldn't work on the set-up," he explained. "It's the same for everybody, but we couldn't catch up. The car is not in a happy place at the moment."

Meanwhile Scott Dixon expects to start from fifth place alongside Takuma Sato despite suffering a serious fire in his Ganassi's gearbox while out on track, and accordingly getting shown the black flag during round 2 of qualifying.

Last year's race winner Mike Conway will start from seventh, but was less than happy with the way that Saturday's qualifying had gone for the AJ Foyt Racing team. "I'm pretty disappointed because I really wanted to have a strong run here," he said. "The ABC car is not quite feeling the way I want yet. We just have to keep working at it."

Graham Rahal was surprisingly poor in his round 1 group and failed to progress, and explained afterwards that a technical failure was to blame. "Our car was really good but we had a hose clamp break in the turbo so we didn't develop any boost and that's why we were a little off pace. I don't think we're terrible but we have some work to do."

Tony Kanaan did squeak through from that group but then dropped out in round 2. "The crash this morning didn't help with trying to get track time," he admitted. "It was a very competitive qualifying session and we were just a little bit behind. I missed making the Firestone Fast Six by a tenth of a second."

As well as the 11 Chevrolet cars, three Lotus-powered cars also have new engines for Sunday's race. That means that Dreyer & Reinbold's Oriol Servia drops to 23rd place for the start of the race after being the best Lotus performer in qualifying, and Lotus Dragon Racing duo Sébastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge are stuck on the back row of the starting grid with Bourdais seemingly disinclined to put in more than a token appearance in his round 1 group.

The penalties handed Alex Tagliani the best starting position of the Lotus field in 10th place, while Simona de Silvestro will start from 17th place despite a number of setbacks over the weekend.

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