Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier both advanced to the Firestone Fast 6 Saturday during qualifications for the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Pagenaud will roll out for the race through the Streets of Baltimore third, and his rookie teammate Vautier will start sixth.
Both drivers advanced from the first round of knockout-style qualifying to fight their way to the Firestone Fast 6 in Round 2. During Round 2 Vautier made contact with Graham Rahal, whose car had stopped on the course. The Schmidt Peterson team replaced his front wing in short time and sent him out to complete the Firestone Fast 6.
“It’s always hard to get back in the car when you have an incident, but you have to get back in and focus again,” Vautier said.
The IZOD IndyCar Series rookie was able to regain his focus and posted a lap of 1 minute, 19.0380 seconds (92.917 mph), which was good enough to earn the sixth starting position on the Grand Prix of Baltimore starting grid.
Simon Pagenaud posted a lap of 1 minute, 18.4307 seconds (93.637 mph) in the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, which was good enough for third position. Pagenaud’s Grand Prix of Baltimore qualifying effort resulted in his first appearance in the Firestone Fast 6 of the 2013 season.
“It’s been a fantastic week for the Schmidt Hamilton organization,” Pagenaud said. “The crew has worked hard and the engineers have made a ton of progress on understanding how to control the ride better. They dug really deep after Sonoma, and even though this is a completely different race track there were a lot of things that we learned.”
Tristan Vautier is hoping for a clean race in the No. 55 Schmidt Peterson / Environmental Rail Solutions car.
“I really want to underline the effort of the team this weekend,” Vautier said. “To have two cars in the Firestone Fast 6 is just great. We unloaded very fast here and kept the momentum going through qualifying, which is great for our sponsor Environmental Rail Solutions. It’s always better when you start up front for the race since it’s usually a little less crazy, so hopefully we can keep it clean and have a good race tomorrow.”
Scott Dixon of Ganassi Racing will start on the pole of the Grand Prix of Baltimore. He will be joined on the front row by Will Power of Team Penske.
The green flag for the Grand Prix of Baltimore will drop at 2:40 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 1. Live coverage begins on NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m. ET, and to stay abreast of trackside updates follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.