DIXON SEALS POLE FOR INDY 500

Two-time For­mula One cham­pion Alonso qual­i­fies fifth fastest

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SAN FRAN­CISCO

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

REUTERS PIC

Scott Dixon cel­e­brates with his wife Emma and daugh­ters af­ter se­cur­ing pole po­si­tion dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing for the Indy 500 on Sun­day.

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