Photo courtesy IZOD IndyCar Series/LAT USA
Tagliani's team is so grateful to have Honda engines (since Indianapolis) that it tweeted thanks to Honda Performance Development after the Canadian set the third best speed of the day at 1:10.668. This is Tag's best start at Belle Isle in four appearances; his previous best was 14th in 2000, 12 years ago! Tagliani overcame a gearbox issue at the start of practice but his team "got the setup spot-on during qualifying."
Rookie Simon Pagenaud starts fourth with Honda power and the Frenchman said his success this year "has been a nice surprise to me and the team. The car is running really well and I enjoy driving it. We made it suit my driving style straight away." The main thing is the relationship with engineer Ben Bretzman, "who has been with me for several years, so there's good chemistry," he noted.
EJ Viso's fifth place showed his KV Racing Technology Chevy team is "heeded in the right direction. By starting in the first three rows in a race like this one, when it's difficult to overtake, it's a very good thing," he said. Ryan Hunter-Reay, starting sixth with his Andretti Autosport Chevy Indy car would "certainly like to be up there fighting for the pole, but sixth is not bad. You can start from there and get to our place." Regarding the difficulty in passing, "It feels like you are never straight; you're always turning so it's going to create some impatience, so we might see some crazy passes."
The balance of the top 10 in qualifying were Rahal, Briscoe, Helio Castroneves (who scored his first Indy car win here) and Sebastien Bourdais. INDYCAR will release an official starting lineup once it knows if any further grid penalties are in order, but the balance of the top 15 are: Justin Wilson (winner here in 2008), Takuma Sato, Josef Newgarden, Hinchcliffe and Dario Franchitti, who never seemed to get a clear lap in qualifying.
The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix has a late, 3:30 pm start on Sunday. The 90-lap contest on the 14-turn, 2.07-mile Belle Isle circuit is being televised live by ABC.