Mother Nature may have brought rain to the streets of Belle Isle, but Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi was more than ready to set today’s qualifying pace after a spectacular performance that saw him finish third place at yesterday’s initial Detroit race. Schmidt Peterson’s Robert Wickens and Penske’s Will Power followed in second and third place.
IndyCar teams pulled the covers off the Firestone rain tires for this morning’s qualifying session, which was held under an isolated storm that quickly left the area following the session’s conclusion.
The 2.35-mile street circuit is known for its bumpy track surface and narrow corners, and greasy conditions certainly didn’t favor the 800-horsepower rear-wheel-drive race cars.
“The wet’s hard in any type of condition, especially on a street course like this. I’ve got to give a shout out to Firestone,” said Rossi. “This new tread pattern they came up with was really stout. It had a lot of grip, it was very predictable, I knew where the limit was right away.
“It made the job easier, for sure. It then becomes a session of trying to find the grip and maximizing as much as you can. Fortunately, the No. 27 Ruoff Home Mortgage car had a good balance and allowed me to do that.”
Behind the top-three of Rossi, Wickens and Power were the Ganassi duo of Ed Jones and Scott Dixon. Wickens’ teammate James Hinchcliffe rounded up the top six, making it an epic Andretti Autosport Schmidt Peterson and Chip Ganassi grid that’s bound to deliver thrills come race time.
Of course, not everyone fared well with the slippery conditions, as veteran Tony Kanaan and yesterday’s second-place finisher Ryan Hunter-Reay paid the price for pushing just a bit too hard.
The Brazilian triggered a red flag when he crashed and damaged the front wing of his No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet on his out lap, while the American went into the turn three runoff and then spun in turn eight.
Sunday’s evening race will be the final of the Detroit Double at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, which so far has been dominated by Honda power.
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