Fernando Alonso secures second row start for the 2017 Indy 500
Spaniard will start fifth at the 101st Indianapolis 500; Scott Dixon takes pole with quickest lap in 21 years
By William Esler
Last Updated: 22/05/17 10:08am
Fernando Alonso will start on the second row at the 2017 Indianapolis 500 after securing fifth spot in qualifying.
The Spaniard had even been on provisional pole for a short time and admitted he lost a bit of time by an overboost problem coming out of Turn Four on the second of his four laps, which appeared to make him hit the limiter.
With qualifying decided by the average speed over four laps, that cost Alonso not just on lap two, but also lap three.
"The car was on the limit," Alonso said. "I don't know if it was possible to be on pole position, but definitely very close.
"I had an overboost problem in lap two out of the last corner, and it was like hitting the brakes. I nearly came to the pit lane because this qualifying run is over with this problem."
Nevertheless, even without the mistake it would been unlikely to be enough for pole after Scott Dixon posted the quickest Indy 500 pole time in 21 years.
Alonso's day wasn't without drama, however, with his number 29 car requiring its Honda engine to be changed between final practice and qualifying, with the new engine turning its first laps during the Spaniard's one qualifying attempt.
"The practice felt good on the car and then we spotted some issues with the engine," Alonso explained. "At one point in the morning, we didn't know if we were able to run in qualifying because we had to change the whole engine.
"But the team was amazing. They were guys from all six (Andretti) teams working on car (No.) 29 just to make it possible, so thanks to all that teamwork, I was able to go for qualifying."
Rob Edwards, COO of Andretti Autosport added: "We saw something we didn't like or Honda saw something they didn't like on the vitals with the engine (during the practice session).
"Obviously it's important to have a good, safe run, so in view of that we decided that the smart thing to do was to go ahead and change it."
Saturday pacesetter Ed Carpenter starts from second, with 2016 race winner Alexander Rossi completing the front row.
Takuma Sato starts fourth on the inside of row two, beside team-mate Alonso, who will have J.R. Hildebrand outside him.
As for the British contingent, Ed Jones starts 11th, Max Chilton 15th, Jay Howard 20th, Jack Harvey 27th and Pippa Mann 28th.
"It was a pretty epic first lap. The problem is it's not about the first lap; it's about the four. My last two were shocking. I'm pretty frustrated," said Chilton.
"Deep down, I'm just frustrated at myself. We've qualified for the Indy 500. That's the main thing."
Indy 500 Fast Nine Qualifying
|1.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||232.164|
|2.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||231.664|
|3.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Herta Autosport||Honda||231.487|
|4.||Takumo Sato||Andretti Autosport||Honda||231.365|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda Andretti||Honda||231.300|
|6.||J.R. Hildebrand||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||230.889|
|7.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||230.828|
|8.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Honda||230.474|
|9.||Will Power||Team Penske||Chevrolet||230.200|