Sebastien Bourdais captured his first pole of the season on Saturday. But he knows it doesn’t mean much, especially with light rain falling on the Honda Indy track.
Bourdais, whose only victory in the Toronto race came 10 years ago, had the top qualifying time of 58.94 seconds.
“I remember it being the hardest street course I’ve ever been on (when) wet,” said Bourdais. “There’s so many lines and pavement changes, concrete, man holes and everything. This place is extremely treacherous.”
Bourdais, who sits 12th in the IndyCar Series standings, finished second and third in the two Toronto races last season, and won the Toronto event in 2004.
Saturday was Bourdais’ 32nd pole of his career, but his first since September 2007. By taking the pole in Toronto, Bourdais became the 10th different pole winner in 13 races during the 2014 season.
“It’s been (seven) years. It’s been a long time coming. It’s a great feeling,” said the 35-year-old. “I think I’ve been the pole here four times and only won the thing once so it says how random these things can be.”
Will Power, who is second in the IndyCar Series standings, finished qualifying with the second best time of 59.10, marking Power’s fourth front-row start of the season.
Series leader Helio Castroneves was third in qualifying with a best lap time of 59.14. Its Castroneves’ seventh top-five start of 2014.
“We qualified third and we’re kind of upset about it,” said Castroneves. “That’s a good thing. It’s a great position to start the race. Unfortunately our tires at the end were worse than some of the others and that was the difference.
“I feel like we will be very good for the race.”
Oakville, Ont., native James Hinchcliffe, the lone Canadian in the race, will start in the ninth spot after posting a qualifying lap time of 59.352. Hinchcliffe, who comes to Toronto in 11th place in the IndyCar Series with 294 points, has struggled in his home race finishing eighth and 21st, respectively in last year’s races.
The 27-year-old finished 22nd at the 2012 event in Toronto and posted a 14th place finish during his rookie season in 2011.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the winner of last Saturday’s race at Iowa Speedway, finished fourth in qualifying. Hunter-Reay will start in the top five for the fifth time this season and for the first time since the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.
Simon Pagenaud, who briefly held the best qualifying time, was forced to pit early after a brush with the wall and finished fifth.
Scott Dixon, who won both races in Toronto last year, will start 12th after a brush with the wall during qualifying forced him to pit early.