Franchitti storms to Long Beach pole
21 April 2013 – Three-time Indycar Series title winner Dario Franchitti will start from pole position for the third race of the season at Long Beach on Sunday afternoon. The Ganassi driver entered the weekend last in the points standings following a disastrous start to the campaign, but managed to post a time of 1:07.237 on his final qualifying lap to edge out reigning Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was 0.055 behind in second.
Will Power will start the race in third alongside ex-Formula 1 star Takuma Sato in fourth, with the Australian able to draw some confidence from the fact that the last time he failed to start on the front row at Long Beach, he went on to take victory at the California track. Mike Conway, making his season debut for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, qualified in fifth following impressive early-weekend pace, and current championship points leader Hélio Castroneves rounded out the top six.
The session was not without drama as Franchitti’s team-mate, Scott Dixon, spun and stopped at the first corner during the first phase of qualifying, with Oriol Servià running into the barriers in an attempt to avoid the New Zealander’s stricken car as he arrived on the scene. The incident brought out the red flag, in the process negating both drivers’ best lap times and relegating Dixon to the back of the grid.
Marco Andretti was also penalised after officials deemed him to have interfered with the flying lap of J.R. Hildebrand, with the latter ultimately ending up in 12th position. Elsewhere, Long Beach lap-record holder Sebastien Bourdais had to settle for 15th place and Briton Justin Wilson will line up in 25th after failing to register a time.
Sunday's race in Long Beach begins at 13:45 local time (GMT -8)