That was enough to hold onto the leading position ahead of a final burst from Alex Tagliani just four hundredths of a second back; Will Power and Dario Franchitti were also comfortably through while a late flier from Simon Pagenaud booked him passage to the Firestone Fast Six just ahead of Ryan Briscoe, bumping Bourdais out into seventh place despite the Frenchman still posting a time under 66s. Significantly, Will Power's main rival for the IZOD IndyCar Series championship, points leader Ryan Hunter-Reay, also missed the cut in the final seconds.
Round 3 - Firestone Fast Six
The last six standing were Scott Dixon, Alex Tagliani, Will Power, Dario Franchitti, Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe.
It was no surprise that the peace and quiet in pit lane to be undisturbed by engine noise for the first four minutes of the ten minute pole shootout. Will Power was the first to finally break cover, followed in hot pursuit by Scott Dixon and then the rest of the field grudgingly springing into action in response.
Power's initial lap of 1:08.8217s was immediately bettered by six tenths of a second by Dixon, and then Dario Franchitti slammed in a time almost a second faster still with a lap of 1:07.2065s. Pagenaud bettered that by 0.0358s, and before he'd had time to draw breath Power found himself sitting at the bottom of the standings as he toured around a second lap. But that was just preparing himself for his next real effort, which proved to be a stunning 1:05.6662s to go top by almost a quarter of a second over Franchitti's latest effort.
It turned out that the only man who could beat that time was Power himself, who posted a new, improved lap of 1:05.6564s as the chequered flag came out to ensure his fourth pole position of the 2012 season; Franchitti held on to the other front row spot with Simon Pagenaud just claiming third spot ahead of Alex Tagliani. Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe had to accept the remaining positions in the top six for the Honda Indy 200.
Some thundery showers are possible for race day, which will start with a half hour Sunday warm-up session at 8am that sets the stage for the race itself, starting at 1pm (6pm BST) and shown live in the UK on Sky Sports.
Full qualifying times
and unofficial provisional starting grid available.