SPEEDWAY – Sebastian Saavedra claimed the pole position for the inaugural running of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, after Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed after momentarily posting the quickest time.
The Colombian driver put his name in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway history book by becoming the first pole winner for the Verizon IndyCar Series race on the road course.
Hunter-Reay was on his first lap after posting the quick time when he slid coming off turn 14 and make contact with the outside retaining wall. As a result he was penalized two positions and will start third.
Joining Saavedra on the outside of the front row will be rookie Jack Hawksworth driving for BHA/BBM racing.
Hawksworth adapted to the wet conditions to make his first appearance in the “Firestone Fast Six” in 2014. Last year he won three Firestone IndyLights races on the street courses in St. Petersburg, Toronto and Baltimore.
For Saavedra it was his first career with the Verizon IndyCar Series driving for KVAS Racing.
“It’s a great way to start the month of May,” Saavedra said. “We have been pushing ourselves to get ready.
“We made some aero changes in preparation for the wet conditions and made the right decision,” he said. “We seem to be heading in the right direction.”
The start of the “Firestone Fast Six” run for the pole position was delayed because of a heavy rain at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which left the 14-turn road course covered in water.
With the final round of knock out qualifying taking place in wet conditions, the drivers were turning laps 14-seconds slower than during dry track conditions.
During the “Fast Six” the top spot was swapped by Hunter-Reay, Will Power, Saavedra and Hawksworth.
Simon Pagenaud, who established a track record in the first qualifying session with a lap of 1:10.676, will start fourth with Will Power and Scott Dixon comprising the third row.