Sato Ends Power's Streak
July 23, 2011 | 7:05 P.M. EST
Takuma Sato won his second career pole on Saturday. (Photo: Getty Images)
Takuma Sato ended Will Power's pole run on road/street courses when he took the top spot for Sunday's IndyCar Series Edmonton Grand Prix.
Sato removed his cap and bowed to the cheering grandstand crowd as he walked down pit lane to accept his $10,000 PEAK Performance Pole Award.
"Absolutely fantastic," said the second-year IZOD IndyCar Series driver from Japan, who is carrying the weight of seeing through relief efforts for his earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged homeland on his slender shoulders. "My thanks to the team."
Some credit should be shared by the driver, who earned his first pole on the Iowa Speedway bullring a month ago. Sato's second -- on the 2.24-mile, 13-turn City Centre Airport circuit -- was considerably more physical and mental. Drivers had all of 90 minutes of practice before the three rounds of qualifying on the reconfigured course after all on-track activity was washed out a day earlier.
Sato, driving the No. 5 KV Racing Technology-Lotus car, set a quick lap of 1 minute, 18.5165 seconds with about 2:30 left in the 10-minute Firestone Fast Six. The top five were separated by two-tenths of a second.
Power, who had earned the previous five street-road course poles of the season and had started from the pole in three of the four previous years here, will join Sato on Row 1. He had a best lap of 1:18.5674 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.
"I have a fast car, I just didn't get it done there in that last session," Power said. "I brushed the wall there and unfortunately affected the car. I think Takuma Sato would have had it regardless because he was so quick anyway, so I give him full credit. The Verizon Team Penske car will be starting at the front row and hoping to stay out of trouble this weekend. I think once you are in the car you are here to race and you give it everything you have got and do what you can."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon (1:18.6442), the 2010 race winner, and Dario Franchitti (1:18.6628) will share Row 2.
E.J. Viso, making his first appearance in the Firestone Fast Six this season in the No. 59 PDVSA KV Racing Technology-Lotus entry (1:18.7383), is on Row 3 with Ryan Briscoe, who drove the No. 6 Penske Truck Rental car to a quick lap of 1:19.0267.