Helio Castroneves will go into this afternoon's qualifying session for the Honda Indy Toronto boosted by having set the fastest lap of the weekend so far on the 11-turn, 1.755-mile temporary street course.
CLICK: Full practice 3 times from Toronto
The Brazilian started from pole position here in the second of the 2014 doubleheader races, and has finished second in two of the last three races at Toronto along with three other top-ten finishes in 12 total starts. However, he's never actually been to victory circle at the venue.
After Friday afternoon's second practice had been washed out, Saturday morning's proceedings picked up where the first session had left off with Penske team mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud vying for control of the timesheet in dry but overcast conditions.
Montoya eventually broke the deadlock, and in doing so became the first person to set a time of under one minute this weekend. CFH Racing's Josef Newgarden followed Montoya's lead a few minutes later and became the second driver to repeat the feat.
However both men were eclipsed by an outstanding lap of 59.6424s (105.931mph) to go almost two tenths faster than Montoya and Newgarden, and thereby secure himself the best time of the session. Gil de Ferran still holds the one-lap qualifying track record for Toronto of 57.143s (110.565mph) set in July 1999.
Will Power was unable to join his team mates at the top of the timing screens and had to settle for fourth place, narrowly failing to break the one minute milestone by just 0.0032s. He was however able to edge in front of Ganassi's Tony Kanaan who claimed fifth place, forcing Pagenaud to settle for sixth place by the end of the 45-minute session.
Graham Rahal was once again the fastest of the Honda contingent in seventh place, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car the only one of the Japanese manufacturer's line-up of cars to make it into the top ten in practice.
After narrowly avoiding being taken out by an early spin for KV Racing Technology's Stefano Coletti, Scott Dixon had a trouble-free session as he recovered from electrical issues on Friday morning that had seen the #9 Ganassi stall out on track, costing him crucial track time especially when the afternoon session had been entirely washed out.
Most drivers were hard at work on Saturday recovering from that lost practice, with all but one of the drivers putting in 20 or more laps in their last practice opportunity before qualifying which takes place later today at 2.30pm (7.30pm BST), and which will follow the usual three-round elimination format used by the series for street and road course events.
Only Gabby Chaves was unable to rack up some decent miles, turning only six laps in the Bryan Herta Autosport #98 car. By contrast the most laps were compiled by Coletti with 26 in the books, but it wasn't a fun morning for the Monegasque driver who suffered several spins, including the one that nearly took out Dixon together with a wild one going through the fast turn 11 near the end of the session. He was fortunate to keep the #4 car off the barriers, but the car stalled and the consequent red flag effectively curtailed the session early, with only 90 seconds remaining when the track went green again until the chequered flag called time.
Even despite his mishaps, Coletti finished in 13th place in the final practice times just ahead of Andretti Autosport's Carlos Munoz. Of the 23 drivers at work this weekend in Toronto, the top 14 were all within one second of Castroneves' best pace.
At the other end of the timing screens, Dale Coyne Racing's Rodolfo Gonzalez was once again placed last. Worryingly, he was a full second slower than his Dale Coyne Racing team mate Tristan Vautier who finished the session in 22nd.
IN a separate announcement, IndyCar race officials said that drivers' push-to-pass counts and usage indicators would no longer be displayed via the timing and scoring systems, as teams working on the pit wall have been able to monitor all competitors' push-to-pass count and when they are activated.
"Unfortunately, the information given to the teams on the push-to-pass function has tended to be used as a defending measure," said Derrick Walker, IndyCar's president of competition and operations. "The driver being overtaken activates his or her own P2P to defend, which defeats the intention of P2P, obviously. We will limit the availability of that information, which will make things interesting, particularly late in the race."
The 85-lap Honda Indy Toronto will get the green flag on Sunday afternoon at just after 3.30pm (8.30pm BST) when the forecast is for a dry and brighter day.
See full practice 3 times from Toronto