DETROIT, June 2, 2012 – Simon Pagenaud will start the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car on the outside of Row 2 in Sunday’s Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix after posting the fourth best qualifying lap Saturday.
Pagenaud’s best lap came during the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session, which is the final round of qualifying in the knock-out style format used by the IZOD IndyCar Series on street and road courses. It is the second time the rookie has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six.
It will be the second time he has started fourth on the IndyCar grid in 2012. He started fourth in Long Beach in April.
In the Firestone Fast Six press conference, Pagenaud reflected on the strong start the Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports team has had this year.
“The car is running really well, I enjoy driving it, and we made it suit my driving style straight away,” said Pagenaud. “So, it puts us in a good position. We’ve been consistent, but the main thing is that my engineer Ben Bretzman has been with me for several years. We moved to IndyCar together with Sam Schmidt Hamilton, so there’s a good combination with good chemistry. The whole group works really well together. Sam has been working really hard to get the right people in the right place, and we have some really good elements.”
Pagenaud starts Sunday’s race sitting seventh in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon produced the top lap of the day and will start on pole for Sunday’s Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. It is Dixon’s second pole on Belle Isle. He also won the pole here in 2008. His lap of 1:10.3162 seconds at 105.978 mph produced his 18th career pole and is also his best starting position in 2012.
Team Penske’s Will Power will start on the outside of the Front Row with his lap of 1:10.3206 seconds at 105.972 mph. In Will Power’s only other start on Belle Isle in 2008, he started 12th.
Rounding out the top five on the starting grid will be Herta Autosport’s Alex Tagliani (1:10.6684 seconds at 105.450 mph), Pagenaud and KV Racing’s E.J. Viso (1:11.0852 seconds at 104.832 mph).
The 90-lap (184.5-miles) Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will air live on ABC Sunday, June 3, at 3:30 p.m. ET.