Dario Franchitti secured pole position for Saturday's first race in the IZOD IndyCar Series double-header on the streets of Toronto.
Franchitti went to the top with a best lap of 59.5756 seconds, which proved to be just good enough to see off a late flyer from Sebastien Bourdais' Dragon car. The Frenchman already had second locked down, albeit 0.4 second off Franchitti's lap. He found a lot of time on his final lap, but ended up falling just 0.09sec short.
"I was surprised how quick we could go on the blacks without doing a really good lap," said Ganassi driver Franchitti, who had brushed the wall in practice earlier in the day. "It feels good, especially after crashing this morning – the guys had to rebuild the right side of the car."
Bourdais took solace in his Dragon team's strongest showing in qualifying this season.
“We finally got a break and the car is heading in the right direction," said the four-time CART champion who has never started worse than seventh in ninth starts in Toronto (he won in '04). "We made a lot of changes this morning. I'm pretty hopeful. We're starting to understand what this car needs on the new tires, which is something we haven't had since the start of the season."
Will Power used his final lap to leap up to third, and said that that was all the speed he could get out of his Penske Dallara-Chevrolet.
"I was definitely pushing hard," he said. "I don't know how Dario and Bourdais do those lap times, but it is definitely impressive."
Tony Kanaan will start from fourth, while Jakes Jakes set the fifth-fastest time but faces a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change. Scott Dixon completed the top six.
The main point of interest during the earlier elimination stages came when Takuma Sato hit the wall at Turn 1 toward the end of the second round, bringing out the red flag with just under a minute left and costing several drivers their final lap. Among those affected was reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was taken out of last weekend's Pocono race by the Japanese driver in a pitlane accident.
"I'd like to thank the crew for giving me a great car – and I'd like to thank Sato for knocking us out again today," he said.
Pos Driver Team/Engine Time Gap
1. Dario Franchitti Ganassi/Honda 59.6756s
2. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon/Chevy 59.7701s +0.0945s
3. Will Power Penske/Chevy 1m00.0612s +0.3856s
4. Tony Kanaan KV/Chevy 1m00.1179s +0.4423s
5. James Jakes Rahal/Honda 1m00.1430s +0.4674s
6. Scott Dixon Ganassi/Honda 1m00.3228s +0.6472s
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti/Chevy 1m00.1954s Round 2
8. Helio Castroneves Penske/Chevy 1m00.2866s Round 2
9. Justin Wilson Coyne/Honda 1m00.2954s Round 2
10. Ryan Briscoe Panther/Chevy 1m00.3843s Round 2
11. Marco Andretti Andretti/Chevy 1m00.6027s Round 2
12. Takuma Sato Foyt/Honda 1m02.3831s Round 2
13. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt/Honda 1m00.4303s Group 1
14. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Chevy 1m00.5083s Group 2
15. EJ Viso Andretti/Chevy 1m00.4556s Group 1
16. Charlie Kimball Ganassi/Honda 1m00.6569s Group 2
17. Alex Tagliani Herta/Honda 1m00.4586s Group 1
18. Graham Rahal Rahal/Honda 1m00.6868s Group 2
19. Josef Newgarden Fisher/Honda 1m00.5822s Group 1
20. Mike Conway Coyne/Honda 1m00.9526s Group 2
21. Tristan Vautier Schmidt/Honda 1m00.9053s Group 1
22. Simona de Silvestro KV/Chevy 1m01.1553s Group 2
23. Ed Carpenter Carpenter/Chevy 1m01.2367s Group 1
24. Sebastian Saavedra Dragon/Chevy 1m01.2939s Group 2