Four women drivers qualify for next Indianapolis 500
Britain’s Katherine Legge and Pippa Mann and Brazilian Ana Beatriz joined the Indianapolis 500 starting grid on Sunday to match a race record four women starters in this year’s field.
The trio joined Swiss racer Simona de Silvestro, who qualified Saturday, to match the mark from 2010 and 2011 for female drivers in Indy’s 33-car field. They were among nine qualifiers on Sunday’s final day of time trials.
The 97th Indy 500 will be staged next Sunday over the famed 2 1/2-mile (4km) Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
Legge had the slowest qualifying speed after a four-lap qualifying average Sunday of 223.176 mph. She only signed a deal Saturday to make a run at an Indy start for the second year in a row.
Mexico’s Michel Jourdain, the only driver who failed to make the field, never approached practice speeds fast enough to threaten Legge’s mark, unable to bump his way into the field before the qualifying session concluded.
American Ed Carpenter won pole position on Saturday to lead 24 drivers in securing spots in the first eight rows on the starting grid.
The final nine spots over the three back rows were filled shortly after the speedway opened Sunday, led by American Josef Newgarden, who booked the inside of the ninth row with an average speed of 225.731 mph.
American Graham Rahal and Colombia’s Sebastian Saavedra completed row nine with Frenchman Tristan Vautier on the inside of row 10 alongside Beatriz with Mann on the outside.
American Conor Daly and countryman Buddy Lazier, the 1996 Indy 500 winner, were on the last row with Legge claiming the outside spot.
Chevrolet engines power 17 qualifiers, including the 10 fastest drivers, while 16 others have Honda power plants, the fastest of them Canadian Alex Tagliani, who starts in the middle of the fourth row.
Defending champion Dario Franchitti of Scotland will start in the middle of row six, the exact center of the grid, but he won last year after starting on the inside of row six.