Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Honda will start Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio sports car course from ninth place on the grid. The Toronto native set a qualifying time of 01:04.5796s.
The team gambled with the threat of rain reaching the track during the session, the team decided to run just two sets of the Firestone red tyres meaning that the Mayor of HinchTown has a brand new set of reds for the race on Sunday which will play a pivotal role during the race.
Hinch goes into the race off the back of a podium finish last time out at the Honda Indy Toronto where he finished the race in third place and in doing so has moved up to eighth place in the standings on 299 points. Speaking following the session, Hinch commented:
It was an entertaining qualifying session, if nothing else, We kind of pulled the short straw by being in group two because the rain looked like it was coming so a lot of guys took two sets of reds during that first qualifying round. When we went out for the second round, the guys like me that went out on used reds to start were the quickest so it shows that the car had really good pace on used tires. If we had gotten into the Firestone Fast Six, that would’ve been a good sign for sure but we did our first run and ended up P1.
Hinchcliffe went on to say:
The rain looked like it was coming. The guys from group one in the first round had new tires and we really didn’t want to put a second run on our second set of reds. This is a red tire race so punishing the second set of reds for another run, it just didn’t feel right for tomorrow, so it knocked us down the grid a little bit but I think we have a better tire situation than some of the guys in front of us and we can capitalize on that tomorrow. I’m proud of the Arrow Electronics team and the effort this weekend, and we’re going to make it a good race.
Mikhail Aleshin in the No.7 SMP Racing Honda will start the race from 10th place having set a qualifying time of 01:04.6084s and speaking following the session the Russian commented by saying:
“I think the qualifying was not too bad for us, Both cars are in the top ten and for me, it’s definitely not a bad result based on where we started the practices yesterday. That was a difficult day for us and today we had good progress in the SMP Racing car. We finished thirteenth in the session before qualifying this morning and tenth in qualifying, so it’s good progress. We just need to continue going the same way in the race. We have good speed and the race is long so I’m sure we can have a good result.