Sato seizes maiden IndyCar pole position
24 June 2011 – Takuma Sato stormed to his first IndyCar pole position at the Iowa Speedway this afternoon, lapping the oval circuit with an average speed of 180.375 mph (290.285 km/h). The KV Racing driver showed impressive form during first practice, going one better in qualifying to lead Andretti’s Danica Patrick and team-mate Tony Kanaan.
In similar conditions to the opening practice session, the 45-minute battle for pole began in earnest at 4.15pm local time. After a relatively low-key start to the weekend, Panther Racing driver J.R. Hildebrand found the speed required to grab fourth place, edging out leading Penske runner and joint championship leader Will Power.
Dario Franchitti had to settle for sixth after his pace-setting time earlier this afternoon, just ahead of James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Andretti pilot Mike Conway and Ryan Briscoe completed the top ten, while Hélio Castroneves endured a difficult session at the wheel of his Penske machine and could claim no more than 13th.
It has also been announced that HVM Racing's Simona de Silvestro will not be taking part in Sunday’s race, with the Swiss driver continuing to suffer from the effects of her violent qualifying crash at the Milwaukee Mile last weekend.
Second practice begins at 7.30pm local time (BST -6)