19 May 2012
Indy 500: Briscoe beats Hinch to pole
In getting into the top nine, Kanaan inadvertently had to bump his 'brother' Rubens Barrichello out of a pole shootout spot: "I'm going to make fun of him!" laughed Kanaan. "But, you know, I think he's pretty happy for his first '500' to be in the top ten. I think it's pretty good."
Barrichello ended the session as the first man on the outside in tenth place, which really is still an impressive showing considering that the former F1 driver had looked to be struggling for pace through much of the
"I'm proud, man; I'm proud!" enthused the Brazilian. "This has been a week of trying. The team made me very peaceful inside the car. It's paying off. The team prepared me very well for this, and I enjoy my time out here. I needed a little bit more time in the car for me to be able to actually go faster.
"It's been an awesome experience - I can't tell you how I was feeling just before I entered the car," he continued. "People at home, they might think, 'It's just four corners' - I'll tell you, those four corners are much more difficult than many of the other corners I've done in my whole life."
With few teams willing to gamble their hard-won times already on the timing charts, the final hour of the main qualifying session was focused on the battle to lock into the grid by finishing in the top 24 dominated the proceedings. Wade Cunningham, Sebastien Bourdais and Mike Conway were all bumped out as the end of the session neared.
For Cunningham, the changing conditions through the day caught the team out. "We were running a super-light downforce when it was cool [in morning practice], the car handled great - the balance was excellent," he said.
"We didn't compensate enough for the heat. We originally thought we would roll out tenth [in qualifying order] and we got bumped out of the tech line, so we got pushed to last. The conditions caught us, and we didn't have enough downforce."
For Bourdais it simply came down to not having enough running time this week because of the situation regarding the last-minute change of engine suppliers.
"There's not much we can do from there. There's a reason why everyone else has been running for a week, and we got three hours," he shrugged. "I think we've got to be pretty proud with the effort. It's been going about as well as it could. We'll go through the weekend the best we can and see what we can do after that."
Conway's exit was particularly galling, as he had previously had put in a flying lap that would have kept him safe only to lose it when the car failed technical inspection for being underweight much as Kanaan had done earlier in the day. Unlike Kanaan, however, Conway was unable to find sufficient speed for his subsequent runs as the day grew increasingly hot, sunny and breezy, which affected qualifying times.
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