DIXON SEALS POLE FOR INDY 500
Two-time Formula One champion Alonso qualifies fifth fastest
NEW Zealand’s Scott Dixon won the pole for this week’s Indy 500 when he posted the fastest average speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, the only rookie in Sunday’s nine-car shootout, will start from the second row in fifth position as the Spanish driver makes his Indy debut.
Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner, was joined on the front row for the May 28 race by Ed Carpenter and last year’s champion Alexander Rossi.
“It feels good,” the 36-year-old Dixon said after he posted an average speed of 373.632 kmph during his four laps. “This is job one. Obviously the real deal is coming up in a week’s time. That’s when we’re going to push even harder and capitalise more.”
Alonso was competitive in the race, posting a 370.08kmph average speed that briefly put him in the lead.
“This is the biggest race in the world,” he said. “I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
He said he was feeling more comfortable in the cockpit of an IndyCar and said participation in the race by European Formula One drivers like himself and Rossi was good for motorsports.
“I don’t think that we need to separate too much F1 or IndyCar or rally or stock car.
“I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just motorsports.”
Wind and track temperatures that reached 45.6C made for challenging racing conditions, which caused Japan’s Takuma Sato to brush up against the wall twice during his run.
The 40-year-old still posted an average speed of 370.184kmph, good for fourth.
Hot weather is expected again this weekend when over 300,000 fans will descend on the Speedway for the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on the sprawling 4.02 km oval speedway.
France’s Sebastien Bourdais, who sustained multiple hip fractures when he crashed during qualifying on Saturday, underwent surgery on Saturday night and is recovering, according to a statement.
“I want to thank everybody for the support and the messages, quite a few drivers have already dropped by,” he said.
“It’s going to take time, but I’m feeling pretty good since the surgery. I’ll be back at some point. Just don’t know when yet!” Reuters
Scott Dixon celebrates with his wife Emma and daughters after securing pole position during qualifying for the Indy 500 on Sunday.