2 June 2012
Detroit Belle Isle: Qualifying times
Scott Dixon and Will Power slugged it out for pole position at Detroit Belle Isle, while early exits from qualifying included Dario Franchitti and James Hinchcliffe.
As is the norm for road and street races, qualifying at Detroit consisted of half the field running in the 15 minute Group 1 and the other half in Group 2. The top six from each group progressed to the ten minute Top 12 session, with the top six from that round then going through to the pole shoot-out Firestone Fast Six.
Round 1 Group 1
Group 1 consisted of Justin Wilson, Simon Pagenaud, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Oriol Servia, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais, Josef Newgarden, JR Hildebrand, Charlie Kimball, Takuma Sato and Ed Carpenter.
Carpenter was first out on track for a couple of shakedown laps posting a best time of 1:18.0828. After a short lull, Takuma Sato headed out and that seemed to encourage most of the rest of the field to come out just before the halfway point of the 15 minute session.
When Sato had a near miss on the turn 3 tyre wall on his first flying lap, he allowed Simon Pagenaud on the red wall soft compound tyres to go top with a lap of 1:12.2122s, and the two Ganassi drivers Franchitti and Dixon duly slotted in to second and third place respectively.
Dixon went top next time around with a lap of 1:11.4650 which he quickly trimmed to 1:11.2495s, with Ryan Hunter-Reay stealing third place from Franchitti who was then immediately bumped from fourth as well by a flying Sebastien Bourdais.
With less than two minutes to go the times started to tumble and the timing screens went almost fully purple, the exceptions being Pagenaud, Franchitti and Kimball. Dixon lowered his time to 1:11.0332s and decided that was safe, and Ryan Hunter-Reay also pitted early from second place ahead of Wilson, Bourdais, Pagenaud and an under the weather Josef Newgarden.
Pagenaud's final flying lap propelled him past Hunter-Reay for second, with Wilson, Bourdais and Sato ending up in the top six. The notable absentee was Franchitti, who was frustrated after being held up by slower traffic including Ed Carpenter in his final run and ended up in a disappointing eighth place, putting him into 15th place on the grid for the start of Sunday's race.
Newgarden was also bumped out at the last minute by Sato, while JR Hildebrand showed off the scuffed rear wheel from contact with the barrier that had cost him a chance of making it through.
1. Scott Dixon Ganassi-Honda 104.909mph 1:11.033s (4 laps)
2. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt-Hamilton-Honda 104.304mph 1:11.445s + 0.412s (6 laps)
3. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti-Chevrolet 104.24mph 1:11.489s + 0.456s (4 laps)
4. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne-Honda 104.088mph 1:11.594s + 0.560s (5 laps)
5. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon-Chevrolet 103.77mph 1:11.813s + 0.779s (6 laps)
6. Takuma Sato RLL-Honda 103.369mph 1:12.091s + 1.058s (7 laps)
7. Josef Newgarden SFHR-Honda 103.347mph 1:12.107s + 1.074s (5 laps)
8. Dario Franchitti Ganassi-Honda 103.031mph 1:12.328s + 1.294s (6 laps)
9. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR-Chevrolet 102.679mph 1:12.575s + 1.542s (6 laps)
10. JR Hildebrand Panther-Chevrolet 102.668mph 1:12.584s + 1.550s (5 laps)
11. Charlie Kimball Ganassi-Honda 102.667mph 1:12.584s + 1.551s (6 laps)
12. Ed Carpenter ECR-Chevrolet 99.517mph 1:14.882s + 3.848s (6 laps)
Round 1 Group 2
Group 2 consisted of Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, Helio Castroneves, Mike Conway, Graham Rahal, Rubens Barrichello, Marco Andretti, EJ Viso, James Jakes, Alex Tagliani and Simona de Silvestro.
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