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Power makes bid for 3rd straight pole

Power makes bid for 3rd straight pole

Will Power made a strong bid for a third consecutive pole position in his home race after leading the opening practice sessions on Friday for this weekend's Indy 300.
The Team Australia driver was fastest by 1.35 seconds over two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who was cleared to travel to Australia only two weeks ago after having his bail conditions on tax charges modified by a judge.
Power won the pole in 2006 and 2007 but went out before the checkered flag in both, the first after contact with Sebastien Bourdais and last year with Katherine Legge.
Only three pole-sitters have won the Surfers Paradise race _ Nigel Mansell in 1993, Jimmy Vasser in 1996 and Dario Franchitti in 1999.
Following February's unification of the Champ Car World Series with the Indy Racing League, the IRL is making its first appearance Down Under in Sunday's non-points race.
Only half the drivers in the 24-car field _ the largest since 2001 _ had ever negotiated the tricky, 4.5-kilometer (2.8-mile), 14-turn course.
Not surprisingly, Power, Britain's Justin Wilson, who finished second here last year, and Franchitti led the 90-minute early morning session.
In the second hour-long session, Power dominated, finishing in a time of 1 minute, 34.8084 seconds. Team Penske driver Castroneves timed 1:36.1609 and Franchitti, driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, was third overall with 1:36.1712.
Castroneves has been charged with conspiracy and tax evasion for allegedly dodging U.S. taxes on about US$5.5 million in income using offshore accounts. He has pleaded not guilty and was freed on US$10 million bail.
Oriol Servia was fourth, Graham Rahal fifth and Wilson sixth. Next was series champion and Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, who was born nearby in Brisbane but raised in New Zealand, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2003 winner here, in eighth.
Another practice session is scheduled for Saturday morning ahead of afternoon qualifying.
Danica Patrick, who became the first woman to win a major open-wheel event in Japan in April, was 20th, 5.2 seconds slower than Power. She is making her first trip to Australia.


Updated : 2021-10-18 19:35 GMT+08:00