In his first race back since hip replacement surgery, AJ Foyt received a great welcome back present with his driver Takuma Sato capturing the pole for today’s Grand Prix of Houston Race 1 in Houston. It is Sato’s 3rd career pole and his first since Edmonton of 2011 and the first for AJ Foyt Enterprises since 1999 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“It’s great to be in your hometown and win the pole, so I’m real happy and real thrilled,” said a happy AJ Foyt. “Just as long as we finish up first.”
Takuma laid down the fastest lap of the weekend of 1:00.4535. Starting on the outside of the front row is Will Power, who won the pole for the last Grand Prix of Houston in 2007. Championship contender Scott Dixon will start in 3rd place and 2006-07 winner of the Grand Prix of Houston Sebastien Bourdais will start from 4th. The third championship contender Simon Pagenaud will start in 5th place, Simona de Silvestro will make her best start since St. Petersburg in 6th place, James Hinchcliffe will start 7th, Luca Filippi makes his best career start in 8th place, and EJ Viso and Dario Franchitti round out the top 10.
Group one was abbreviated due to Tristan Vautier crashing on the frontstretch. As a result of this, drivers only had about five minutes of green time and did not have the opportunity out on the option Firestone Reds to lay down a quick lap (Sato was around 7 tenths quicker than Power).
Championship points leader Helio Castroneves struggled in his qualifying session and is starting this race in a deep 22nd place.
“I’m obviously very disappointed with the qualifying result since the Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra car is starting toward the back. The Shell and Pennzoil team is the best in the business – we have a great group of guys. So hopefully we will make the best out of it and work our way forward in Race 1.”
It is still yet to be determined whether or not double fire restarts will be used today, the race will feature a standing start.
Three drivers will take 10 place grid penalties for changing engines: Dario Franchitti, Graham Rahal and Sebastien Bourdais
- Takuma Sato 1:00.4535
- Will Power 1:01.1524
- Scott Dixon 1:00.6057
- Sebastien Bourdais 1:01.4911*
- Simon Pagenaud 1:00.6184
- Simona de Silvestro 1:01.5527
- James Hinchcliffe 1:01.2123
- Luca Filippi 1:01.6520
- E.J. Viso 1:01.7201
- Dario Franchitti 1:01.7201*
- James Jakes 1:01.3678
- Marco Andretti 1:01.7907
- Mike Conway 1:01.5154
- Justin Wilson 1:01.8065
- Tony Kanaan 1:01.5409
- Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:01.8305
- Charlie Kimball 1:01.6329
- Oriol Servia 1:01.9043
- Graham Rahal 1:02.0140*
- Josef Newgarden 1:02.1588
- Sebastian Saavedra 1:02.1175
- Helio Castroneves 1:02.2823
- Ed Carpenter 1:03.5193
- Tristan Vautier no time
* Indicates 10 place grid penalty