Alexander Rossi surged ahead of Scott Dixon to claim his second straight pole at The Raceway at Belle Isle for this afternoon's first race of IndyCar's Detroit doubleheader.

The doubleheader rounds feature a unique qualifying format that splits the field in two groups with the fastest overall driver taking the pole.

Dixon, a two-time winner at Detroit, set a benchmark lap on black tyres of 1 minute 14.910 seconds with six minutes left and eclipsed by an astounding four-tenths after switching to the softer red tyres. The lap was nearly three-tenths faster than Josef Newgarden's fastest lap set in the first qualifying group.

Rossi followed suit on tyre choice and pull out a flawless lap of 1:14.199s, a clear four tenths ahead of Dixon. Dixon responded by cooling his tyres in preparation for a final shot at the pole. It all came apart when he slid in the last turn and came up .2006s short.

Rossi's performance knocked Newgarden to the outside of the front row, which matches his best career starting spot at the 2.35-mile street circuit.

Chip Ganassi Racing teammates occupy the second row with Dixon leading rookie teammate Felix Rosenqvist.

Colton Herta recovered from an early pit speed penalty to start fifth for the second straight week while defending race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay ended up sixth.

Patricio O'Ward and Zach Veach both claimed their best season starting spots of seventh and eighth respectively while Takuma Sato and James Hinchcliffe completed the top ten.

Two-time Detroit winner Will Power had a double whammy of bad luck staring when he went off track in Turn 7 on his first lap on red tyres. He then slid through Turn 13 which left him sixth quickest in the session and 12th on the grid.

His Indy 500 winning Team Penske winning teammate Simon Pagenaud fared no better and ended up 13th on the grid, 1.2568s in arrears to pole-sitter Rossi.

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