Will Power was quickest again in the final practice session before qualifying for the St Petersburg IndyCar race.
The extremely competitive hour saw countless changes of lead, but in the end it was established road and street course master Power who emerged on top once again.
Mike Conway maintained his excellent form for Andretti Autosport to take second, meaning the British returnee has been in the top three in all three sessions this weekend. He was 0.3sec slower than Power, and just ahead of the Australian's Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe.
Fresh from announcing a sponsorship deal that cements his comeback with Newman/Haas, Oriol Servia took a strong fifth place. Ganassi had two cars in the top 10 with Scott Dixon sixth and Graham Rahal eighth, but its champion driver Dario Franchitti was classified slowest after an early crash.
He certainly was not the only driver making an error in the fraught session as Simona de Silvestro, Danica Patrick, Conway, Power, Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Sebastian Saavedra, Charlie Kimball and EJ Viso all had excursions too. Most were harmless, but Viso gave KV Racing Technology yet another rebuild to complete after a late crash that damaged three corners of the car. The Venezuelan has now had an accident in every session this weekend...
More encouragingly for KV, Tony Kanaan took seventh and Takuma Sato 10th in the team's other two cars. Justin Wilson was ninth for Dreyer & Reinbold. Farther back, Saavedra continued to show good form in his first street course IndyCar event, putting the Conquest in 11th, with Raphael Matos also showing well for newcomer AFS Racing in 13th.
The top 15 cars were separated by one second, forecasting a competitive qualifying session, which is set for 2:30 p.m. ET. Two groups get 15 minutes of qualifying in Segment 1, with the top six in each group by lap time advancing to the second segment. Another 15-minute session determines the top six by lap time for the Firestone Fast Six – a 10-minute shootout that determines the first three rows.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske 1m02.7167s
2. Mike Conway Andretti 1m03.0607s + 0.3440s
3. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m03.1659s + 0.4492s
4. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m03.1891s + 0.4724s
5. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas 1m03.2987s + 0.5820s
6. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m03.3204s + 0.6037s
7. Tony Kanaan KV 1m03.3988s + 0.6821s
8. Graham Rahal Ganassi 1m03.5578s + 0.8411s
9. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m03.5842s + 0.8675s
10. Takuma Sato KV 1m03.5953s + 0.8786s
11. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 1m03.6575s + 0.9408s
12. Alex Tagliani Schmidt 1m03.6710s + 0.9543s
13. Raphael Matos AFS 1m03.6731s + 0.9564s
14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m03.6903s + 0.9736s
15. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m03.7525s + 1.0358s
16. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m03.7761s + 1.0594s
17. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m03.8731s + 1.1564s
18. EJ Viso KV 1m04.0412s + 1.3245s
19. Charlie Kimball Ganassi 1m04.0837s + 1.3670s
20. JR Hildebrand Panther 1m04.2124s + 1.4957s
21. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m04.2978s + 1.5811s
22. Sebastien Bourdais Coyne 1m04.3021s + 1.5854s
23. James Jakes Coyne 1m04.3616s + 1.6449s
24. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold 1m04.4882s + 1.7715s
25. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m05.0195s + 2.3028s