Castroneves takes Race 2 pole in Houston
29 June 2014 – Helio Castroneves set the fastest qualifying lap of the entire weekend to win pole for the second race of the Grand Prix of Houston. In a split session, the Brazilian's 59.1702-second lap ultimately beat P2 Mikhail Aleshin's time by a full second, but he was only 0.026s quicker than P3 Simon Pagenaud, Saturday's pole-sitter.
The qualifying session was slightly different than yesterday's three-segment format, only running two groups to fill the odd- and even-numbered grid spots. The second group, from which Castroneves came, was clearly the faster of the two, with ten of the 12 drivers being quicker than their Group 1 counterparts. Unlike yesterday, though, no rain is forecast for the rest of the proceedings on track.
Graham Rahal will start on the outside of the second row, still embarrassed over yesterday's mistake on the penultimate lap that sent him plowing into the back of then-P3 Tony Kanaan under caution. Kanaan was spun, and Rahal earned a 30-second penalty that knocked him out of his top five spot and down to P11 – but still classified him ahead of the 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner. Kanaan qualified P8 for today's race.
Sebastien Bourdais will start fifth alongside Justin Wilson and James Hinchcliffe. Kanaan, Carlos Munoz and Takuma Sato round out the top 10. Sato, injured after contact with Aleshin and the wall yesterday, insists that his wrist is fine after he was seen pouring water on it after climbing from the accident.
In a mirror of yesterday, points leader Will Power will start P18. Defending Indy 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay had another disappointing qualifying session, and he will start in P21.
Sunday's Race 2 in Houston gets underway at 2pm local time (-5 GMT)