Alexander Rossi takes maiden IndyCar pole at Watkins Glen – IndyCar

Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi clinched his first IndyCar pole position at Watkins Glen, edging four-time champion Scott Dixon.

Rossi’s lap time of 1m22.4639s, a new track record, came in the final seconds of the ‘Fast Six’ section of qualifying, denying Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dixon by little over half a tenth of a second.

Rossi, who had his deal with Andretti extended this week, was fast in practice, and had a very strong performance here in his rookie year in 2016.

Josef Newgarden was third fastest, 0.0001s slower than Dixon after running wide on his final lap, ahead of Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato.

Dixon’s Ganassi team-mate Charlie Kimball was fifth, ahead of Helio Castroneves.

Championship leader Newgarden and Castroneves knocked out team-mate Will Power, as well as Andretti driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, in the final seconds of the second part of qualifying by just a few thousandths of a second.

Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud could only manage 12th, and was slowest of all in the second part of qualifying.

Graham Rahal, who was fast throughout practice, was only 10th fastest. He will start behind Sebastien Bourdais, who did not use the softer compound of tyre throughout qualifying.

Two drivers set to leave Ganassi at the end of the season, Tony Kanaan and Max Chilton, had a torrid time. They were slowest of all in their group.

AJ Foyt Enterprises team-mates Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly were separated by six thousandths of a second in the second group of qualifying. This ended up being the difference between that crucial sixth and seventh position in the group stage.

Starting grid

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m22.4639s
2 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 0.0529s
3 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.0530s
4 Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 0.1021s
5 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 0.3442s
6 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.8711s
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 0.5215s
8 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.6348s
9 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 0.6820s
10 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 0.7601s
11 Carlos Munoz AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 0.8320s
12 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 0.8342s
13 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1.0278s
14 Conor Daly AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1.0450s
15 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1.5212s
16 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1.2215s
17 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1.5343s
18 Jack Harvey Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1.6751s
19 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1.7373s
20 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1.7140s
21 J.R. Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1.9904s

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