Takuma Sato claimed his second pole position of the 2019 IndyCar Series season in qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver, who won from pole at Barber Motorsports Park two months ago, produced a two-lap average of 220.250mph.
Thursday practice pacesetter and reigning champion Scott Dixon’s first lap put him on course to depose Sato, but he faded to end up 0.088mph adrift as he put his Ganassi car on the outside of the front row.
Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais had a prolonged spell on provisional pole when the session was briefly paused for drizzle.
He still qualified third for his first top three start since last May’s Indianapolis road course race.
Ryan Hunter-Reay completed an all-Honda-powered top four in the fastest of the Andretti Autosport cars.
Simon Pagenaud was top Chevrolet runner in fifth for Penske. His team-mates Josef Newgarden and Will Power line up seventh and 15th respectively for Saturday night’s race.
Spencer Pigot will start between Pagenaud and Newgarden in sixth for Ed Carpenter Racing.
Colton Herta had been fastest in the Friday practice session but drew an early spot in the qualifying running order and could only manage 10th on the grid behind James Hinchcliffe and Graham Rahal.
Title contender Alexander Rossi, who is 15 points behind championship leader Newgarden following last week’s Detroit double-header, qualified 11th, while rookies Marcus Ericsson and Felix Rosenqvist will start 14th and 16th respectively.
In his first start with Carlin since the 2011 GP3 season, Max Chilton’s oval race replacement Conor Daly took 19th on the grid – two places behind team-mate Charlie Kimball.
The back row is filled by two veterans who had incidents on their qualifying runs.
Marco Andretti managed to catch a wild series of twitches without crashing, but the lost momentum consigned him to a very slow run and 21st on the grid.
He is joined at the back by Tony Kanaan, who had a glancing blow with the wall on the exit of Turn 2 and abandoned his run.
|1||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Dallara/Honda||220.250|
|2||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda||220.162|
|3||Sebastien Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda||219.746|
|4||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||219.537|
|5||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||219.355|
|6||Spencer Pigot||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||219.099|
|7||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||218.666|
|8||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara/Honda||218.459|
|9||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||Dallara/Honda||218.449|
|10||Colton Herta||Harding Racing||Dallara/Honda||218.406|
|11||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||218.295|
|12||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Dallara/Honda||218.074|
|13||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara/Chevrolet||217.982|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Dallara/Honda||217.953|
|15||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara/Chevrolet||217.899|
|16||Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara/Honda||217.182|
|18||Santino Ferrucci||Dale Coyne Racing||Dallara/Honda||217.063|
|20||Matheus Leist||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet||215.093|
|21||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta||Dallara/Honda||206.901|
|22||Tony Kanaan||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Dallara/Chevrolet||0.000|