TORONTO, July 7, 2012 – After establishing himself as a contender for the Honda Indy Toronto pole position through practice and the first round of qualifying, Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports’ Simon Pagenaud will start a disappointing 10th in Sunday’s 85-lap IZOD IndyCar Series race.
Pagenaud put the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone car on the top of the timing sheet after the first round of IndyCar’s knockout-style qualifying. But, a change made to the car between the first and second rounds did not produce the results the team and Pagenaud expected.
His lap of 1:09.6650 at 105.891 mph around the 1.75-mile street course was only 10th fastest in the second round and did not advance him to the Firestone Fast 6 round of qualifying. The Frenchman will now start 10th Sunday.
“”We made a change that didn’t work,” Pagenaud said while sitting on the Toronto pit wall. “That’s the story. It was just the wrong decision from us. It doesn’t happen often with the HP team, but we did it today.”
Despite his disappointing starting position, Pagenaud has confidence in his team and himself that they can improve their position throughout the grueling Toronto race.
“It’s Toronto, so we’d rather be starting up front and not in 10th, especially since we’ve had such a good weekend,” said Pagenaud. “We made a wrong decision. We’ll learn from it, and it will give us the direction to go in tomorrow’s race.”
Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti will start on pole for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto after producing the fastest lap in Firestone Fast Six qualifying. His lap of 1:09.3510 at 106.451 mph earned him his third Toronto pole (’97 & ’98) and his 29th IndyCar pole.
IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power will start next to Franchitti on the front row after producing a lap of 1:09.3757 at 106.407 mph. Power won the pole for this race in 2011.
The rest of the Firestone Fast Six are Justin Wilson, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon and Alex Tagliani and will line up in that order.
The Honda Indy Toronto will air live Sunday, July 8, at 12:30 p.m. ET on the ABC. It can also be heard on the IMS Radio Network (check local listings) and XM94/Sirius 121.
DATE: July 7, 2012
EVENT: Honda Indy Toronto
LOCATION: Toronto, Ontario (1.75-mile street circuit)
SERIES: IZOD IndyCar Series
PAGENAUD: 10th (1:09.6650 at 105.891 mph)
POLE WINNER: Dario Franchitti (1:09.3510 at 106.451 mph)