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Marco Andretti on pole for series return to Pocono

6 July 2013

It seems that no one can best Marco Andretti when it comes to running at speed at the 'Tricky Triangle', the unique 2.5-mile tri-oval that is hosting its first IndyCar race since 1989 this weekend.

Having topped all the midweek open test sessions and then this morning's practice hour, Marco Andretti repeated his dominating run of performances by locking up pole position for Sunday's Pocono IndyCar 400 with a blistering two-lap average speed of 221.273mph with a total time of 1:21.3473s.

That was over a tenth of a second faster than his Andretti Autosport team mate and reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, with a third member of the squad James Hinchcliffe setting the next-best time to make it an all-Andretti three-wide front row for the start of tomorrow's race.

"It's just an unbelievable team performance across the board," said Andretti. "So far it's all we can ask for ... I think it's going to play out a little bit like Indy. I think there's going to be a lot of passing, contrary to what people are saying, and I think it's going to be a lot of 'right place at the right time.'"

The fourth member of the team, EJ Viso, looked on course to make it a foursome until he got loose through turn 1 on the second of his two timed laps, and ended up hitting the wall hard. He was checked out in the in-field care centre and will be fit to race on Sunday, providing the team can repair the #5 car overnight.

Will Power looked on course to go pole after his first timed lap of 221.069mph, but the #12 Penske car hit the limiter on the second lap which meant he could only manage fourth place on the grid ahead of Triple Crown hopeful Tony Kanaan in fifth.

Power's team mate Helio Castroneves completed an all-Chevrolet sweep of the front two rows of the grid, with Ganassi's Scott Dixon, AJ Foyt Racing's Takuma Sato and Schmidt-Hamilton Racing's Simon Pagenaud doing their best to fly Honda's colours by locking up the third row.

Alex Tagliani also made contact with the T1 SAFER barrier at the start of on his qualifying run in the #98 Bryan Herta Autosport car and failed to set a time. He was cleared by the medics to race, meaning he will start on the back row alongside Viso and Ryan Briscoe, who was not present at Pocono on Saturday as he is competing for Level 5 Motorsports in the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut.

See full qualifying times from Pocono.


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