Will Power shrugged off his defeat in Alabama to take a third consecutive pole position and lead a Team Penske charge in qualifying for the Long Beach IndyCar race this weekend.
Power qualified ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Justin Wilson, with his team-mates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe behind them.
The final place in the Firestone Fast Six was taken by Hunter-Reay’s colleague at Andretti Autosports, Tony Kanaan – which meant there was no driver from Penske’s great rivals, Target Chip Ganassi, in the pole shoot-out since this method of qualifying was adopted for road and street courses.
Power said: “We certainly have the car figured out and I’m very happy to be P1 again. We’ve got to get the strategy right this weekend – I know sometimes it’s really hard to read, but we need to keep executing in races
“The key to success is starting up front, but you’ve also got to get the lucky yellow. You can be out front leading and bam, get caught by a yellow – strategy can screw you, but it also can go your way.”
Wilson, like Power, has experience of the circuit from his days in Champ Car. He said: “I’m really happy qualifying third. This is probably the best car I have ever driven in Long Beach including my pole in 2008.
“I don’t think I could have found another four tenths around here, but I gave it my best shot. I’m really looking forward to the race as starting position is key here.”
His team-mate Mike Conway struggled to get the right set-up and ended up 14th: “We improved the TranSystems car from yesterday, but we are still not quite there. We will work on it during the warm-up to see if we can get it better again.”
For Panther, Dan Wheldon will start a season-best 10th – two places ahead of championship contender Dario Franchitti for Ganassi. Alex Lloyd will start 21st for Dale Coyne Racing.
* In qualifying for the Indy Lights support race, James Hinchliffe held onto pole after a late effort from championship leader JK Vernay that appeared to have snatched the position from him was ruled to have been completed under a yellow caution flag and discounted.
Charlie Kimball and Sebastian Saavedra will start third and fourth. Martin Plowman qualified fifth and Stefan Wilson ninth, but Pippa Mann, James Winslow and Dan Clarke all suffered either on-track incidents or mechanical problems and will start well done the field – Mann 12th, Winslow 14th and Clarke 15th out of 18.