SONOMA, Calif. (Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012) – Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports’ Simon Pagenaud qualified ninth for Sunday’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma race after turning a lap of 1:18.4334 seconds at 109.469 mph Saturday on the 12-turn, 2.31-mile Sonoma circuit.
Pagenaud will line up tomorrow in the fifth row next to Dale Coyne Racing’s Justin Wilson.
After posting the third fastest time in Friday’s practice, Pagenaud said he and the team need to work tonight to find more grip out of the Firestone tires.
“We just don’t have it,” Pagenaud said. “I think we may be missing grip in a few places because, overall, my balance is really good. I think I got the most out of the car but not the most out of the tires. We just don’t have as much grip as the Penske cars and a few others.”
Despite starting in ninth tomorrow, Pagenaud is optimistic for the 85-lap race.
“We just need to find a little bit more, but the good thing is we have a very good race car,” Pagenaud said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to go race hard tomorrow.”
Team Penske’s Will Power scored his fourth IndyCar pole award of the year, the 28th of his career and his third consecutive at Sonoma with his lap of 1:17.2709 seconds at 111.116 mph. He has also won this race the past two years.
He will be joined on the front row by his Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe, who posted a lap of 1:17.4347 seconds at 110.881 mph.
Joining Power and Briscoe in the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying session were Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais (3rd), Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves (4th), Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon (5th) and Dario Franchitti (6th). They will line up in that order Sunday.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is second in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship behind Power, will start seventh. He will be joined by Bryan Herta Autosport’s Alex Tagliani in Row 4.
The GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, an 85-lap race around the 12-turn, 2.31-mile Sonoma road course, will air live on NBC Sports Network, Sunday, Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. ET. The race will also be live on the IMS Radio Network and on XM 94/Sirius 212.
DATE: Aug. 25, 2012
EVENT: GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
LOCATION: Sonoma, Calif. (2.31-mile, 12-turn road course)
SERIES: IZOD IndyCar Series
PAGENAUD: 9th (1:18.4334 seconds at 109.469 mph)
POLE WINNER: Will Power (1:17.2709 seconds at 111.116 mph)