Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi claimed his third IndyCar pole position of the season in a disrupted session at Mid-Ohio.
Rossi only completed a single flying lap in the fast six using the red Firestone tyres, but a time of 1m04.6802-seconds was enough to take pole, his first since the second race in Detroit last month.
Penske’s Will Power was two-tenths slower than Rossi, but edged out the polesitter’s team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay to take the front-row slot, with reigning champion Josef Newgarden ending up fourth.
Robert Wickens was fortunate to make it through to the fast six, after originally finishing 11th fastest in the second qualifying session.
His Schmidt Petersen Motorsports’ team-mate James Hinchcliffe crashed out, seconds after the setting the fastest time of that session.
The crash, which brought out the red flags, relegated Hinchcliffe to a P10 start and promoted Wickens to the pole position shootout.
The stoppage in the dying seconds of the fast 12 caught out many drivers aiming to set a final fast lap, including Scott Dixon – a five-time winner at the Lexington track.
Graham Rahal was irate after just missing out on a slot in the final session, accusing other drivers of deliberately slowing and blocking those still on a flying lap.
But after a lengthy stewards’ deliberation, no further action was taken.
Carlin’s Max Chilton benefited greatly from the red flag, using a clever red/red strategy throughout qualifying to take sixth on the grid, his best starting position of the season.
In group one of qualifying, Marco Andretti failed to advance to the next segment despite his team-mates Rossi, Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach doing so, while Penske’s Simon Pagenaud also did not advance and took 17th on the 24-car grid.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais endured a tough session, and will line-up last on the grid.
Bourdais hit the Turn 2 barrier early on in his group two lap and was unable to continue to set a time.
|1||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||1m04.6802s||1|
|2||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.2137s||3|
|3||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||0.3094s||2|
|4||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.4533s||3|
|5||Robert Wickens||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara/Honda||0.4945s||2|