Sato on Pole for Second Detroit Race

Takuma Sato apexes Turn 1 during Race 1 during Belle Isle IndyCar qualifying
Photo: Bret Kelley / INDYCAR

With a format identical to Race 1 and Groups 1 and 2 swapped, qualifying for Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit got underway at 10:45 a.m. EDT on Sunday under cloudy skies at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, culminating in a new track record and pole for Takuma Sato.

Group 1

Scott Dixon got on the board first in the No. 9 Camping World Honda with a 1:19.0582. After one lap for all 11 drivers in the group, Helio Castroneves topped the timesheet with a 1:16.7921.

Three minutes into the 12-minute session, Carlos Munoz brought out a red flag with the No. 4 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet into the wall at Turn 2. Munoz had not yet turned a full lap at the time of the incident.

The green flag returned after eight minutes of red-flag time. Castroneves was the first out to turn more laps in the final minutes but was edged by Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay. The 1:15.2833, while significantly off Rahal’s track record set on Saturday, was 0.2 seconds clear of Castroneves’ best lap.

Mikhail Aleshin, Dixon and Conor Daly completed the top five.

Group 2

Will Power went out first in the second group to qualify — previously designated Group 1 on Saturday — and remained atop the timesheet for nearly all of the 12-minute session.

Just before the halfway point, Power’s 1:14.3913 had already eclipsed Hunter-Reay’s best lap by more than a second. Completing the top five behind Power were Sato, Simon Pagenaud, Graham Rahal and Josef Newgarden.

Will Power qualifies for Race 2 in Detroit
Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

Power turned a 1:13.9449 on his fifth lap. The time, marginally faster than Rahal’s best on Saturday, was the first to establish a new track record at Belle Isle.

In the final minute, Power found himself in a runoff area while Rahal, Sato and James Hinchcliffe laid down faster laps than the 2014 series champion.

On his final lap, Sato’s 1:13.6732 became the new track record at Belle Isle and granted the Japanese driver his sixth career pole. The last time the 2017 Indianapolis 500 champion was on pole was Race 2 at Detroit in 2014.

Rahal, Hinchcliffe, Power and Marco Andretti rounded out the top five behind Sato.

The series has some time off to enjoy Belle Isle Park until pre-race festivities begin for Race 2, set to go green at 3:50 p.m. with live coverage on ABC beginning at 3:30 p.m.

What do you think?