Simon Pagenaud takes pole at Honda Indy Toronto

Canadian James Hinchcliffe in middle of pack for Sunday race

Simon Pagenaud took the pole for Team Penske on Saturday as the Honda Indy Toronto heads for the Sunday race. It was the Indy 500 winner's second time up front in the last three Toronto races.

Simon Pagenaud continued his dominance on the streets of Toronto, securing pole position during Saturday’s time trials, for Sunday’s running of the Honda Indy.

Pagenaud’s time of 58.42 was good enough for the French national to procure his 12th career pole, second of the season. In the last three Toronto races, the Team Penske driver has been in the front twice.

The Chip Ganassi Racing team rounded out the top-three with Scott Dixon second and Felix Rosenqvist right behind.

Pagenaud knows he has a competitive vehicle with great pace, and will be hoping to win his first race around the Canadian National Exhibition site.

“The car is very consistent,” said the most recent Indy 500 winner. “It’s honestly a pleasure to drive this weekend. I’m having the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

“Actually, no, I had just as much fun in Indy.””Pole is always important from an ego standpoint,” said Pagenaud, eliciting laughter from the media crowd. “It is an advantage here because it’s so difficult to pass from back there, but anything can happen in Toronto.”

Pagenaud’s teammate, Will Power, has had an abysmal showing this weekend not being able to qualify in the top-12.

The last time Power did not make the “Fast12” in qualifying was in 2015 at Long Beach. That’s a surprise here because he has won Toronto twice, and finished with four podiums.

Ganassi rookie Rosenqvist, on the other hand, has continued to impress — every session this weekend has seen his times in the top three.

Rosenqvist’s teammate Scott Dixon secured P2 on the grid, but was lucky not to have his lap disqualified after spinning out on the final hot lap of the qualifying session, nearly causing a red flag to come out.

Had Dixon not been the last driver on the track, it’s likely his second place time would have been revoked.

“We were lucky to be the last car,” said Dixon, who has won three times on the Toronto track, “It could have been sixth instead of second.”

The lone Canadian in the field, James Hinchcliffe, of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, fell just short of the Fast-12, placing 14th.

“We’ve got a long race tomorrow, and we’ll do what we can to make our way to the front,” said Hinchcliffe. “We’ve had really good Sundays, really good cars on race days so far this year, so I’m confident we can pick off some of these guys.”

Having the local fans on his side was a boost.

“They support you through thick or thin and that’s why I love coming home,” said the Oakville native. “I want to give them something to cheer for coming from fourteenth place. We’ll try to get a fair way up the grid tomorrow.”

The Honda Indy rolls at 4:32 p.m. on Sunday.

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Posted: Jul 13 2019 9:46 pm
Filed under: Other Sports Sports