Despite the rough roads and tight turns, qualifying for the first Dual in Detroit stayed clean, running green for all 12 minutes of both groups.
As expected, tires played a huge role, with the softer Firestone red compound making the difference in track speed. Yesterday’s practice didn’t seem to help much – temperatures outside and on the Belle Isle track are drastically cooler than Friday’s.
Group One was led by the No. 9 of Scott Dixon, who topped the charts with 1:15.4186. He knew he wouldn’t keep the time though, speaking to IndyCar immediately after his run.
“I’d be astonished if the second group wasn’t faster,” Dixon said.
And faster they were. Though Canadian Robert Wickens looked strong and led most of the 12 minutes, the No. 98 of Marco Andretti powered through a flyer lap and took the Verizon P1 award with 1:14.8514.
And his attention quickly shifted to race mode.
“Starting first is awesome but I definitely want to win the race,” said Andretti, who did also acknowledge that Detroit is where anything can happen.
“Even if you’re not (first) you can make something happen here.”
This is Andretti’s first pole since Pocono in 2013 and his first on a road or street course. Overall, it’s his fifth pole, but the 36th for Andretti Autosports. For the 2018 season we’ve now seen seven different pole sitters in seven different races.
Andretti has started in 13 Belle Isle races, with a best starting position of sixth. His best finish was second. His best finish this season was sixth at Long Beach.
Drivers in Andretti’s group will fill in the odd numbered spaces, with Dixon’s group taken the even spots.
- Marco Andretti
- Scott Dixon
- Robert Wickens
- Alexander Rossi
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Will Power
- Takuma Sato
- Graham Rahal
- James Hinchcliffe
- Max Chilton
A late-session incident between Ryan Hunter-Reay and Robert Wickens was under review by race control, but no action was taken.