By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
You just can’t hold Simon Pagenaud back in 2016.
Despite a rough Indy 500, despite a disappointing result in yesterday’s Round 1 of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Dual in Detroit, he just keeps bouncing back. This time by once again nabbing pole position, in a damp and chaotic qualifying session on the tight confines of Belle Isle Raceway.
He did so by setting the fast time* in a modified group format for qualifying, that saw the field split into two groups running an accelerated set of 12 minute sessions in order to avoid a coming rain shower on Belle Isle.
The asterisk comes because technically Pagenaud’s lap was not the quickest. His team Penske team mate, Will Power set a blistering 1:13.883 lap only to be denied as the stewards deemed he interfered with Marco Andretti’s fast lap.
Power wasn’t alone in having his fastest lap disallowed in the wet and tricky conditions, Alexander Rossi, Conor Daly and ironically Marco Andretti, who suffered similar misfortune.
Penalties sorted, Pagenaud’s 1:14.037 lap has him starting first. Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay half a second back on 1:14.562 was good enough to get second on the grid for the American.
Veterans Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon will make up row two, while Mikhail Aleshin, Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal, Will Power, Jack Hawksworth and Juan Pablo Montoya round out the top 10. Race 1 winner Sebastien Bourdais will start 12th.