Helio Castroneves will start on pole for the second round of the 2016 IndyCar Series, the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, after establishing a new record as part of his rapid two-lap average pace of 192.324mph around the Arizona oval.
Marking IndyCar's first visit to Phoenix since 2005, Castroneves qualifying lap of 192.631mph around the 1.022 mile oval would see a record that had stood for 20 years fall to the Penske driver, ensuring him of a 46th pole position, 28 of which have been achieved on ovals.
“It's an honour to be breaking the record, which has been holding for 20 years, and now we're able to show that Verizon IndyCar Series cars are fast. The car was really on rail. We came here in the pre-season, we showed that and we kept going. The temperatures were really difficult because of the temperature and you've got to push to the limit, and we definitely pushed to the limit.”
Fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan will start alongside him in the Chip Ganassi car with round winner Juan Pablo Montoya following up with Charlie Kimball in fourth, the quartet forming a Penske – Chip Ganass lock-out at the front.
Fastest in practice, Ed Carpeneter picked up a fifth place start for his eponymous team, ahead of Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden and top rookie Max Chilton, the former F1 driver starting eighth for his maiden IndyCar oval race.
Elsewhere, three drivers failed to set a time, with Carlo Munoz crashing out on his first lap, while James Hinchcliffe and Takuma Sato failed to participate after damaging their cars heavily in free practice smashes. Both are set to start, albeit at the back.