Apr 27, 2014; Birmingham, AL, USA; IndyCar Series driver Sebastian Saavedra (17) comes over the hill along with Ryan Hunter-Reay (28) during the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Sebastian Saavedra Claims Indianapolis Grand Prix Pole

The famously fickle Indiana weather added an additional level of difficulty to qualifying for the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix that resulted in a surprise pole winner.

Sebastian Saavedra inherited the pole after Ryan Hunter-Reay brought out a yellow flag late in the session and lost his top two fastest laps. Hunter-Reay fell back to third, allowing rookie Jack Hawksworth to start on the front row for the first time in his young career.

 

The first session saw rain, which stopped long enough for second session to complete in the dry. Between the top twelve could take to the track the clouds broke open again, soaking the track, forcing the drivers onto rain tires. The rain continued and delayed Q3, which must have played to Saavedra’s favor, because the Columbian driver had been mid pack in the three practice sessions leading up to qualifying.

I tried to watch qualifying via Indycar’s live streaming video, and I had a hard time getting a quality stream. It got worse as qualifying went along, and I’m assuming more people tuned in. Supposedly Indycar is making efforts to improve their IT infrastructure, and should be better in the future.

In the second round of Q1 Mikhail Aleshin was penalized, allowing Graham Rahal to advance to Q2.

The race goes off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC, and the forecast calls for sunny skies and temps in the 70s.

“It’s going to be a show tomorrow, that’s for sure,” Sebastien Bourdais said on the webcast after missing the Firestone Fast Six by three tenths’ of a second.

Qualifying results courtesy of Indycar.com

1 17 Saavedra, Sebastian D/C/F 01:23.8822 104.675 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
2 98 Hawksworth, Jack (R) D/H/F 01:24.0788 104.431 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
3 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F 01:24.8882 103.435 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
4 77 Pagenaud, Simon D/H/F 01:25.2881 102.950 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
5 12 Power, Will D/C/F 01:25.5216 102.669 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
6 9 Dixon, Scott D/C/F 01:25.6548 102.509 Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
7 11 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/F 01:24.5187 103.887 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
8 2 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/F 01:24.6209 103.762 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
9 10 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F 01:24.7099 103.653 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
10 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F 01:24.8839 103.440 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
11 27 Hinchcliffe, James D/H/F 01:25.1318 103.139 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
12 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/F 01:25.4748 102.725 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
13 25 Andretti, Marco D/H/F 01:10.2488 124.990 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
14 8 Briscoe, Ryan D/C/F 01:10.2261 125.030 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
15 67 Newgarden, Josef D/H/F 01:10.3601 124.792 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
16 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/F 01:10.2804 124.934 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
17 18 Huertas, Carlos (R) D/H/F 01:10.4264 124.675 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
18 19 Wilson, Justin D/H/F 01:10.4141 124.697 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
19 34 Munoz, Carlos (R) D/H/F 01:10.5097 124.528 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
20 41 Plowman, Martin (R) D/H/F 01:10.4591 124.617 Elimination Round 1 /Group 2
21 26 Montagny, Franck D/H/F 01:10.5571 124.444 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
22 16 Servia, Oriol D/H/F 01:10.5996 124.369 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
23 83 Kimball, Charlie D/C/F 01:10.6413 124.296 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
24 20 Conway, Mike D/C/F 01:10.6535 124.274 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
25 7 Aleshin, Mikhail (R) D/H/F 01:11.2704 123.198 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

Tags: Ryan Hunter-Reay Sebastian Saavedra Verizon Indycar Series

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