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Franchitti holds on for Milwaukee pole

The second row of the grid will be an all-Brazilian affair, with Rubens Barrichello a particularly welcome surprise in third place for his first-ever short oval race start.

"I am extremely happy with today's qualifying," he beamed. "As soon as we rolled the car out on track it felt good and it's a great feeling to be able to go flat. I have been to Milwaukee a few times as a spectator and tested here a couple of weeks ago, but everything felt much better today."

He'll start alongside Penske's Helio Castroneves, who posted the second-fastest single lap speed of the session (168.584mph) on his first circulation but then had to back off dramatically on the second after getting loose and hitting the engine rev limiter.

"We had a very fast first lap but the second one unfortunately I pushed too much and it lowered our two-lap average," he explained. "We are going to continue working hard so we have a good race car tomorrow and hopefully head to the front."

Qualifying utilised the traditional oval qualification format: each driver going out in a pre-set order to run one warm-up lap followed by two qualifying laps that together provide the average lap speed and total combined aggregate time. Next weekend's race at Iowa will instead trial a new 'heats' format to try livening the session up.

The third row of the grid will see Barrichello's KV Racing Technology team mates EJ Viso and Tony Kanaan lining up side-by-side, confirming impressive pace for the team as a whole on the Milwaukee Mile.

"The performance we have shown at this track up to now has been strong," said an excited Viso. "What makes me even more excited is that I feel we have a good race car. There are going to be a lot of cars dropping back in this race because the hot weather temperatures will have a big effect. Hopefully, our strategy and the car development we have done will take us to the front and we can stay there."

"Tomorrow will be an interesting day and hopefully we can bring a home a good result," added Kanaan.

Simon Pagenaud will start in seventh place for Schmidt-Hamilton alongside Andretti's James Hinchcliffe. The French sportscar driver felt that his car hadn't yet shown its full potential despite the top ten qualifying position.

"The car still has something left in it," he said. "I really enjoyed the qualifying here today. It's one of those deals where you have to be flat to be on pole, and that's very challenging to do here. It's such an adrenaline rush to qualify here."

"It's good to see the job the guys are doing," the series rookie added. "They know what I need to feel comfortable on the ovals. I'm learning, learning quick, but still learning every day."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ganassi team mates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti watch Danica Patrick practice from the pit wall at the Milwaukee Mile - June 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti celebrates in victory lane after winning the Milwaukee 225 in June 2011. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti in unfamiliar colours at the Milwaukee Mile during practice in June 2011. [Picture credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Dario Franchitti #50 Target Chip Ganassi Racing during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 Dan R. Boyd LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
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impressive - Unregistered

June 16, 2012 8:43 AM

Good to see Rubens starting to settle in. Wasnt really a fan of his but awesome to see that he hasnt just retired and is out there racing in a pretty challenging series.

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