Ganassi duo Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon admitted that it was frustrating to be outpaced by Penske in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, but do not think their arch-rivals will be able to run away with the race.
The teammates have won the last two Indy 500s and IndyCar Series titles, but will line up third and fifth on the Indy grid, with Penske's Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe having maintained their dominant practice form and claimed the top two places in qualifying.
Although Franchitti will still start on the front row, he admitted that he had hoped for better than third.
"I'm a little sorry we didn't get the pole," he said. "We are still on the front row. We made the best of what we had in the Target car."
He said at one stage he had been concerned that he might lose his front row position as the Andretti Green drivers and Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Graham Rahal made further qualifying attempts.
"Everybody here wants to beat Penske, but you're fighting against AGR. And you have Newman/Haas/Lanigan," said Franchitti. "There are more and more teams coming out. The competition level is getting tougher and tougher.
"We knew we didn't have the pole speed. It was pretty nerve-wracking. We were really concerned somebody would knock us off the front row. We went out and did seven practice runs, and on each of those runs, you are pushing it to the limit. It was a long day."
Dixon made two qualifying runs but could not improve on fifth place.
"It was a bit of a frustrating day," he said. "It wasn't terrible. The car was consistent; we just didn't have the speed. The car has a little shine on speed now and then.
"Qualifying fifth is a further back than we thought we would be. Our first attempt was not very good. We gained a little bit later, but we got beaten by Rahal."
While conceding that Penske currently had the faster package, Dixon played down the significance of the team's qualifying result.
"We know that anything can happen here," he said. "At least the pole gives you bragging rights for a couple of weeks. We did it last year, but this was a tough day for us. They are a bit ahead of us. They have been since day one. The race will be different; that's the one that has a different paycheck."