Scott Dixon will be hoping to put his greater experience to good use at the green flag and possibly get the jump on Vautier into turn 1, after admitting that he was disappointed to only qualify in fourth place after setting such blisteringly fast lasts in the first two rounds, including that Round 1 lap that had been a mighty three seconds faster than the previous track record.
"I am a bit bummed about qualifying, you know we were fastest in Q1 and Q2 and then just a bit of missed timing," he conceded. "A bit on my behalf, didn't go out hard enough and then tried to expect some more from the tyres later and it just wasn't there.
"I don't think we quite would have gotten a 7.0 that Ryan did," he added. "You know we did a 6.7 earlier on new tyres but he did a hell of a job and putting a good lap together. [But] race day is a different day and hopefully we can move up three spots".
Dixon's junior Ganassi team mate Charlie Kimball will start just behind him on the grid after progressing to the Fast Six for the very first time, making fifth place his best-ever start in an IndyCar race. Dixon and Kimball's good fortunes contrasted sharply with those of the other Ganassi driver Dario Franchitti who fell at the first hurdle in Round 1 and will have to start from 17th place on a course known to be difficult for overtaking during the race except at restarts.
Franchitti will be in quality company in that part of the grid, with Simon Pagenaud, Alex Tagliani and Tony Kanaan all also losing out in the same Round 1 group. In the second group, the usually reliable Oriol Servia and St Petersburg race winner James Hinchcliffe also failed to get through, with Hinchcliffe in particular feeling hard done by.
"We didn't have the quickest car, but had enough for Q2," he insisted afterwards. "Got held up by another car and ended up getting knocked out. It's frustrating but we've got an extra set of reds than those guys now in the race and maybe degradation will come into it tomorrow."
Hinchcliffe said that it has been the #12 Penske car of Will Power that had held him up in the session, but - unlike the subsequent incident with Sato - in this case Power was cleared of blocking and allowed to keep his fastest lap times.
"I don't think I blocked him actually," responded Power. "Viso checked me up. Those guys checked up in front of me. Yeah, don't know what he's talking about. Blocking? Have to take a look at the video. Just whining because he didn't get through, I think!
"It's definitely hard around this track because everybody around 9 checks up, and then the next guy has to back up, then the next guy," Power elaborated. "It happened to me in the first round. Viso backed up going into 12, really checked me up. You're screwed your next lap as well."
Despite this hiccup, Power progressed through to Round 2 and ultimately into the pole shootout, and will now take second seat on the front row for the race start.