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Jul 20, 2014 - 05:47 AM
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Baron Fastest For Belardi Auto Racing In Toronto To Earn First Pole
Posted by: newsla on Jul 20, 2014 - 05:41 AM
IndyCar News
Baron Fastest For Belardi Auto Racing In Toronto To Earn First Pole

Rookie Alex Baron missed the most recent Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race on the high-speed Pocono Raceway oval, but bounced back in style today on the streets around Exhibition Place to claim the pole position for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Toronto. The 19-year-old from Narbonne, France, who carries dual French and British citizenship, turned the fastest time in this morning's second Indy Lights practice session, then repeated the trick this afternoon in Belardi Auto Racing's #4 Liberty Engineering/13th Avenue Dallara to secure his first-ever pole with a lap of 1:06.182.


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Teammate and championship leader Gabby Chaves had been fastest during the early stages of the half-hour qualifying session with a best lap of 1:06.0431 around the 1.755-mile street circuit. Moments after being eclipsed by Baron - by a scant 0.0259 - Chaves' #5 Marca Colombia/Coldeportes car ground to a halt out on the track with a broken driveshaft. Officials had no option but to display the red flags, bringing the session to a temporary halt. Chaves, as the cause of the stoppage, was obliged to relinquish his fastest lap time, but fortunately was able to retain second place on the starting grid as his second-best time, 1:06.3149, remained faster than anyone else could manage.

A light sprinkling of rain made life difficult for the drivers throughout the session, and no one was able to improve after the resumption.

Matthew Brabham (#83 United Fiber and Data/MAZDASPEED) will start third in tomorrow's race - his sixth top-four start of the season - for Andretti Autosport with a time of 1:06.3240.

Schmidt Peterson with Curb-Agajanian teammates Jack Harvey, from Bassingham, England, and Luiz Razia, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, set the fourth and fifth fastest times, followed by Chaves' closest championship challenger, Zach Veach, who had to be content with sixth on the grid for Andretti Autosport. Chaves and Veach are separated by 11 points prior to tomorrow morning's ninth round of the 14-race season. The green flag for the Grand Prix of Toronto will fly at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, July 20.

Live commentary on the IndyCar Radio Network, plus timing and scoring, will be available via the series' website at http://indylights2014.com/live-timing/. The race will be broadcast with same-day coverage on the NBC Sports Network at 6:00 pm ET.

Alex Baron, #4 Liberty Engineering/13th Avenue: "I didn't run at Pocono, so when I jumped back into the car it felt weird because it's been a long time since I've been in the car. I had to learn the feel again so that was the main goal. I think we did a pretty good job to accomplish this - I had the best time in the second practice and the pole here, so I hope we can win tomorrow. On a street course, it's quite difficult to attack a session on slick tires when it starts raining, because you can never predict what's going to happen on the track. It's not the first time I've sat on pole [in my career] so I'm not going to get too nervous, I know what to do - I'll analyze what the other drivers have done when I started just behind them in other races, so hopefully everything will go as planned!"

Regarding teammate and championship leader Gabby Chaves: "We'll have a talk about it before the race. The main goal would be for us to get away from the pack and race ourselves. I'm racing Gabby, but I will give him respect on the track - if I stay in front of him, I don't see why I would give him a place but I won't mess up his championship."

Gabby Chaves, #5 Marca Colombia/Coldeportes: "It was a little of a bittersweet sensation. Even though we did finish one-two and it is a great accomplishment for the team and I am happy for that - and I am very proud of my teammate also for stepping up and getting Belardi on the top where it belongs - I am also disappointed because I think I could have taken the pole. You never know what could have happened but we had a really good chance because we missed half the session and we still ended up on the front row even with our fastest lap being taken away. We have a very competitive car which is the upside and our main championship contenders are in the back of the field so we need to focus on the positive side of it, fix whatever happened and take it from here to the race."

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