SAO PAULO, Brazil (April 28, 2012) – Team Penske’s Will Power kept the hot streak going for Team Penske in 2012 as he won the pole position for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 on Saturday in record fashion.
Power’s lap of 81.4045 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet during the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session was the fastest in the three-year history of the event. Saturday’s performance gave Power his second consecutive pole at Sao Paulo and his second of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. It also marked the second straight year that Team Penske has started the year winning the first four consecutive poles of the season, with Power winning all four in 2011.
“It was a great battle at the end today and it’s good to put the Verizon Chevrolet on the pole,” said Power. “It was satisfying, especially knowing that Honda seems to have an advantage on the straights at the moment, so being on pole is a good start to the weekend. There was great competition on the track today, which is typical of IndyCar.”
Ryan Briscoe will start 10th on Sunday after he posted a top qualifying lap of 81.8495 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet. The pole winner two weeks ago at Long Beach is excited about the opportunities that the 11 turn, 2.536-mile street circuit offers.
“It’s disappointing to just miss out on the top six by a couple hundredths of a second, but the balance wasn’t quite there and I just couldn’t pull out a good enough lap time,” said Briscoe. “But if there’s a track where you can pass, this is it. So I’m looking forward to the race.”
Sao Paulo native Helio Castroneves will start 20th after a qualifying time of 82.4131 in the Penske Logistics Dallara/Chevrolet. The 2012 winner at St. Petersburg suffered contact in the No. 3 car during a morning practice session and his team worked hard to fix the front suspension before qualifying.
"The Penske Logistics car did well today, we needed just a little bit more,” said Castroneves. “The braking felt inconsistent during qualifying but the Penske crew did a great job fixing the car after practice. We just couldn't put it together today but we will be ready for a good performance tomorrow. I cannot wait to drive in front of these great Brazilian fans."
Saturday’s pole position was the 26th of Power’s career, tying him for ninth on the all-time IndyCar list with Dario Franchitti, who qualified second on Sunday. Power has now won a pole in 10 of the last 14 temporary street/road courses. Power won the previous two races on the Streets of Sao Paulo and he is also riding a two-race winning streak after taking the checkered flag at Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach. He currently leads the IndyCar Series championship standings with 127 points, 24 ahead of teammate Castroneves. After winning the first three races of the season, Team Penske will look to make it four consecutive victories to start 2012 on Sunday.
“It is a great advantage to start up front with the possible conditions tomorrow,” said Power, referring to the forecast for rain on Sunday. “I have a feeling it’s going to be wet, or maybe wet-dry for the race so it will mix things up a lot. It is going to really test the drivers.”