Ganassi's Scott Dixon came close to even failing to make it into the final round of qualifying, and then left it late in the pole shootout before managing to slam in his best lap of the session, but finally it all came together for the Kiwi who successfully claimed the pole position for Sunday's IZOD IndyCar Series 75-lap road course race in Baltimore.

Dixon's final laptime on the 2.04-mile, 12-turn downtown street course was 1:18.0838s (94.053mph) which was enough to put him 0.0333s ahead of Penske's Will Power, who will line up alongside him on the front row of the grid for the start of tomorrow's race. While the pole time was still some way off Power's 2012 qualifying track record of 1:17.9750, Dixon's round 1 lap of 1:17.9275s did succeed in setting a new Baltimore benchmark.

"Good to bounce back after last week," said Dixon, referring back to the controversial way that he had lost last week's race at Sonoma to Power after falling foul of a controversial pit lane infringement penalty while leading the race. "We had a sensor failure in Q2, which almost knocked us out. Big thanks to Honda for figuring it out and fixing that in Q3." Of his final flying lap of the day, Dixon said: "I actually made a few mistakes on that lap and we were still able to pull it out. It's a good place to start here at Baltimore. It's going to be a tight race."

Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud will start from third place on the grid, his best starting position of the season. The Frenchman will be joined on the second row of the grid by Justin Wilson, the Dale Coyne Racing driver making it through to the final round of qualifying for the first time this season in the wake of his stunning run last weekend at Sonoma which saw him recover from the back of the field to finish in second place behind Power.

Qualifying had followed the usual three-round IZOD IndyCar Series elimination format for road and street course races. Scott Dixon topped his group in round 1 with a new qualifying track record time, a tenth of a second faster than Will Power with both men well clear of Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe. The big surprise of the 10-minute session was the failure of Dixon's Ganassi team mate Dario Franchitti to progress to round 2, falling short by a tenth of a second and admitting later that the car "just wasn't fast enough" when it mattered.

The second group in round 1 was red flagged halfway through the session after Sebastien Bourdais hit the tyres at the turn 9 chicane. Charlie Kimball had been leading the times ahead of Josef Newgarden but there were still three minutes remaining when the session resumed and by the end Kimball was clinging on to sixth spot with his fingernails just four hundredths ahead of Luca Filippi. Simon Pagenaud just pipped his Schmidt team mate Tristan Vautier to the top spot while Helio Castroneves and Justin Wilson joined Kimball and Newgarden in progressing after EJ Viso suffered a late left rear hit into the wall at the chicane which left debris on track that impacted others' final runs.

By comparison it looked as though round 2 would be incident-free, until the eight-and-a-half minute mark when Rahal made contact with the tyres at turn 8 and was then collected in the left rear by Vautier running through the chicane behind him. Fears that Rahal might have injured his hand in the incident were quickly allayed. The incident ended the session prematurely and for a moment it looked as though Dixon would be eliminated, but Rahal's fastest laps were subsequently deleted for causing the red flag meaning that the Kiwi ended up joining Power, Newgarden, Vautier, Pagenaud and Wilson in making it through to the pole shootout after all while Castroneves, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe all missed out.

Vautier set the first flying lap in round 3 which was soon bested by Newgarden as both put in banker laps while the others bided their time in the first half of the ten-minute session. The serious flurry of laps didn't start until just under four minutes remaining, with Wilson going top only to be shuffled back by the latest runs from Vautier and Newgarden which even Power, Pagenaud and Dixon couldn't top on their first efforts. Power finally showed his pace next time around to go top by almost three quarters of a second, with Dixon, Pagenaud and Wilson soon slipping into second, third and fourth positions. A final effort from Dixon was enough to steal pole from Power by a third of a tenth of a second as the chequered flag came out.

Round 1 - Group 1

1. #9 Scott Dixon Ganassi (H) 94.241mph 1:17.9275s (5 laps)
2. #12 Will Power Penske (C) 94.114mph 1:18.0331s + 0.1056s (5 laps)
3. #14 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt (H) 93.741mph 1:18.3436s + 0.4161s (5 laps)
4. #1 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti (C) 93.602mph 1:18.4595s + 0.5320s (6 laps)
5. #15 Graham Rahal RLL (H) 93.499mph 1:18.5467s + 0.6192s (7 laps)
6. #27 James Hinchcliffe Andretti (C) 93.467mph 1:18.5729s + 0.6454s (4 laps)
7. #16 James Jakes RLL (H) 93.388mph 1:18.6398s + 0.7123s (6 laps)
8. #10 Dario Franchitti Ganassi (H) 93.353mph 1:18.6694s + 0.7419s (6 laps)
9. #4 Oriol Servi? Panther (C) 93.189mph 1:18.8075s + 0.8800s (6 laps)
10. #78 Simona De Silvestro KV Racing (C) 92.982mph 1:18.9829s + 1.0554s (6 laps)
11. #6 Sebastian Saavedra Dragon (C) 92.676mph 1:19.2440s + 1.3165s (5 laps)
12. #18 Stefan Wilson Dale Coyne (H) 91.586mph 1:20.1871s + 2.2596s (5 laps)

Total laps: 66

Round 1 - Group 2

1. #77 Simon Pagenaud Schmidt (H) 93.437mph 1:18.5983s (4 laps)
2. #55 Tristan Vautier Schmidt (H) 93.413mph 1:18.6183s + 0.0200s (5 laps)
3. #3 Helio Castroneves Penske (C) 93.386mph 1:18.6413s + 0.0430s (5 laps)
4. #19 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne (H) 93.102mph 1:18.8813s + 0.2830s (4 laps)
5. #67 Josef Newgarden SFHR (H) 92.881mph 1:19.0685s + 0.4702s (5 laps)
6. #83 Charlie Kimball Ganassi (H) 92.864mph 1:19.0835s + 0.4852s (5 laps)
7. #98 Luca Filippi BHA (H) 92.816mph 1:19.1242s + 0.5259s (5 laps)
8. #11 Tony Kanaan KV Racing (C) 92.604mph 1:19.3051s + 0.7068s (5 laps)
9. #25 Marco Andretti Andretti (C) 92.408mph 1:19.4738s + 0.8755s (4 laps)
10. #20 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter (C) 91.151mph 1:20.5694s + 1.9711s (5 laps)
11. #5 EJ Viso Andretti-HVM (C) No time (2 laps)
12. #7 Sebastien Bourdais Dragon (C) No time (3 laps)

Total laps: 52

Round 2 - Top 12

1. #12 Will Power Penske (C) 93.607mph 1:18.4559s (4 laps)
2. #67 Josef Newgarden SFHR (H) 93.526mph 1:18.5236s + 0.0677s (5 laps)
3. #55 Tristan Vautier Schmidt (H) 93.495mph 1:18.5496s + 0.0937s (4 laps)
4. #77 Simon Pagenaud Schmidt (H) 93.376mph 1:18.6501s + 0.1942s (4 laps)
5. #19 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne (H) 93.229mph 1:18.7734s + 0.3175s (3 laps)
6. #9 Scott Dixon Ganassi (H) 93.127mph 1:18.8597s + 0.4038s (5 laps)
7. #3 Helio Castroneves Penske (C) 92.928mph 1:19.0288s + 0.5729s (5 laps)
8. #1 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti (C) 92.919mph 1:19.0367s + 0.5808s (5 laps)
9. #83 Charlie Kimball Ganassi (H) 92.901mph 1:19.0523s + 0.5964s (5 laps)
10. #14 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt (H) 92.702mph 1:19.2216s + 0.7657s (5 laps)
11. #27 James Hinchcliffe Andretti (C) 92.589mph 1:19.3182s + 0.8623s (5 laps)
12. #15 Graham Rahal RLL (H) 89.338mph 1:22.2045s + 3.7486s (4 laps)

Total laps: 54

Round 3 - Firestone Fast Six

1. #9 Scott Dixon Ganassi (H) 94.053mph 1:18.0838s (3 laps)
2. #12 Will Power Penske (C) 94.013mph 1:18.1171s + 0.0333s (4 laps)
3. #77 Simon Pagenaud Schmidt (H) 93.636mph 1:18.4307s + 0.3469s (4 laps)
4. #19 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne (H) 93.115mph 1:18.8698s + 0.7860s (4 laps)
5. #67 Josef Newgarden SFHR (H) 93.077mph 1:18.9022s + 0.8184s (6 laps)
6. #55 Tristan Vautier Schmidt (H) 92.917mph 1:19.0380s + 0.9542s (6 laps)

Total laps: 27

Unofficial starting grid

1. #9 Scott Dixon Ganassi (H)
2. #12 Will Power Penske (C)
3. #77 Simon Pagenaud Schmidt (H)
4. #19 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne (H)
5. #67 Josef Newgarden SFHR (H)
6. #55 Tristan Vautier Schmidt (H)
7. #3 Helio Castroneves Penske (C)
8. #1 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti (C)
9. #83 Charlie Kimball Ganassi (H)
10. #14 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt (H)
11. #27 James Hinchcliffe Andretti (C)
12. #15 Graham Rahal RLL (H)
13. #98 Luca Filippi BHA (H)
14. #10 Dario Franchitti Ganassi (H)
15. #11 Tony Kanaan KV Racing (C)
16. #4 Oriol Servi? Panther (C)
17. #25 Marco Andretti Andretti (C)
18. #78 Simona De Silvestro KV Racing (C)
19. #20 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter (C)
20. #6 Sebastian Saavedra Dragon (C)
21. #5 EJ Viso Andretti-HVM (C)
22. #18 Stefan Wilson Dale Coyne (H)
23. #16 James Jakes RLL (H) *
24. #7 Sebastien Bourdais Dragon (C)

* Denotes 10 place grid drop for unapproved engine changePending any further grid penalties



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