INDYCAR: Bourdais survives wet track to take pole
LEXINGTON, Ohio — Others slipped and slid, but Sebastien Bourdais persevered and even flourished during IndyCar qualifying Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
A noon downpour turned the 2.25-mile, 13-turn circuit into a slippery strand of roadway, but Bourdais proved to be the best on rain tires. The French driver made it through the first two qualifying rounds and into the Fast Six.
“The last lap I knew I was shy and needed some more, so I just went for it and made it stick and that Mystic machine gave me everything it had and it was enough,” Bourdais said.
It is the second pole of the season for Bourdais and the 33rd of his American open-wheel career, tying him with Dario Franchitti on the all-time list. The KVSH Racing driver ran a 1:24.161 for an average speed of 96.586 mph. It was almost 19 seconds slower than times posted in Saturday’s dry morning practice.
The slippery track resulted in three stoppages in the first two qualifying sessions, making it hard for drivers to get one lap at speed let alone any rhythm.
“Obviously the conditions were really tricky,” Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe said. “The cars just had no grip.”
It certainly shook up the order for today’s Honda Indy 200. Series points leader Helio Castroneves and four-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon failed to get out of their first sessions and will start 15th and 22nd, respectively, in the 22-car field.
Bourdais, who won from the pole in the first race at Toronto, will start alongside Josef Newgarden, his best start on a road or street course for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan will start third, while Andretti Autosport teammates Carlos Munoz and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be fourth and fifth. Team Penske’s Will Power starts sixth.