Indy 500 qualifying: Marco Andretti takes pole
Marco Andretti has taken pole for the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500, battling strong winds to beat Scott Dixon’s time by 0.017mph and putting the Andretti name on pole at Indy for the first time since grandfather Mario achieved it in 1987.
An impressively consistent run from Takuma Sato saw him go a tad faster on the second lap than on his first and all his laps stayed in the 230mph bracket. Rahal Letterman Lanigan teammate Graham Rahal had to pedal the car at Turn 1 on his final lap and lost momentum.
Rookie Alex Palou in the Dale Coyne Racing-Honda twice hit 240mph down the front straight, and his first lap was the fastest of the session up to that point with 231.901, but he believed his weightjacker stopped working on Lap 3 and he lost pace over the last two laps.
Fellow rookie and the only Chevrolet driver in the field, Rinus VeeKay in the #21 Ed Carpenter Racing was on target to pip Sato until his fourth lap when he just dipped a little below 230.
Scott Dixon in the most trimmed out car in pitlane, ensured the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda was the first to clock two 231mph laps and moved to the top of the table with an average of 231.051.
James Hinchcliffe’s run in the Andretti Autosport-Honda was disappointing in relative terms, fourth fastest at the time, yet teammate Alexander Rossi had it worse, having to breathe the throttle at both ends of the track by Lap 4, which guaranteed Dixon was at least on the front row.
Ryan Hunter-Reay’s first lap was 0.5mph off Dixon, and while his three subsequent laps were beautifully consistent, it wasn’t enough to avoid bleeding away vital tenths to slip to the second row.
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