Bourdais sets standard in final practice before Toronto qualifying

Updated: 

TORONTO – Sebastien Bourdais reminded everyone why he is a four-time pole sitter and two-time race winner on the streets of Exhibition Place, in the final practice before Verizon P1 Award qualifying this afternoon for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.

Driving the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet, Bourdais – who won at Toronto in 2004 and the first race of the 2014 doubleheader – led the morning session at 1 minute, 0.6035 of a second (106.093 mph), setting the bar heading into knockout qualifying later today.

“I’m surprised we’re up there, actually,” Bourdais said, “because the balance really isn’t that great. But I guess everybody must be fighting it a little bit.”

CLICK HERE: Honda Indy Toronto practice 3 resultsHonda Indy Toronto combined practice resultsHonda Indy Toronto qualifying groups

The four-time Indy car champion – tied for sixth in all-time Indy car wins with Bobby Unser at 35 – looks to add to his victory total in Sunday’s 85-lapper after winning the first race of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit last month.

“The car’s been quick, definitely all weekend here,” the 37-year-old Le Mans, France, native said. “Hopefully we can carry that into qualifying.”

Teams arrived this morning to minor adaptations to the 1.786-mile circuit from Friday. The inside wall at Turn 8 was moved back six feet – where it was located in previous years – and the concrete racing surfaces in Turns 1 and 9 sandblasted overnight to aid grip levels

The changes were reflected on the time charts, as drivers quickly beat Friday’s best lap, posted by Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Simon Pagenaud (1:01.7081). By session’s end today, Bourdais was more than a second quicker.

Bourdais was followed on the speed chart by three of the Team Penske quartet – Pagenaud (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet, 1:00.8710, 105.627 mph), 2010 Toronto winner Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet, 1:00.9157, 105.549 mph) and Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Pennzoil Chevrolet, 1:00.9610, 105.471 mph).

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chevy), who won both ends of the 2013 Toronto doubleheader, rounded out the top five, followed by Jack Hawksworth in 6th at 1:01.0453 (105.325 mph) in the No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda.

The session was briefly stopped when Mikhail Aleshin made contact with the tire barrier in Turn 5, causing right-front damage on the No. 7 SMP Racing Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

CLICK HERE: Mikhail Alsehin visor cam laps

“The PPG Chevy is really good this weekend,” said Pagenaud, who has won the Verizon P1 Award five times and captured three race victories this season on his way to a 73-point lead over Josef Newgarden after 10 of 16 completed races. “It’s all about putting a lap together. It was a bit messy, a lot of traffic and the red-flag condition came right as we put new tires on.

“But overall, I think we’re in good shape. This afternoon is when it counts, so I think we’ll have a shot at it.”

Verizon P1 Award qualifying takes place this afternoon, with the three-segment knockout session beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network). Coverage of Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto can be found live on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network at 2:30 p.m. ET, with the 85-lap race re-airing at 5:30 p.m. on NBCSN.

Results of Practice 3 are below.

Rank

Car

Driver Name

C/A/E/T

Time

Speed

Diff

Gap

Best Lap

Total Laps

1

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

01:00.6035

106.093

--.----

--.----

18

24

2

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

01:00.8710

105.627

0.2675

0.2675

24

24

3

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

01:00.9157

105.549

0.3122

0.0447

9

19

4

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

01:00.9610

105.471

0.3575

0.0453

12

22

5

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

01:01.0034

105.397

0.3999

0.0424

20

20

6

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

01:01.0453

105.325

0.4418

0.0419

16

20

7

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

01:01.1800

105.093

0.5765

0.1347

20

25

8

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

01:01.1957

105.066

0.5922

0.0157

18

22

9

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

01:01.2483

104.976

0.6448

0.0526

9

15

10

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

01:01.2712

104.937

0.6677

0.0229

12

25

11

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

01:01.3049

104.879

0.7014

0.0337

21

21

12

19

Filippi, Luca

D/H/H/F

01:01.3161

104.860

0.7126

0.0112

12

20

13

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

01:01.3207

104.852

0.7172

0.0046

15

22

14

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

01:01.4301

104.665

0.8266

0.1094

17

22

15

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

01:01.4783

104.583

0.8748

0.0482

21

21

16

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

01:01.4906

104.562

0.8871

0.0123

19

22

17

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

01:01.5808

104.409

0.9773

0.0902

17

21

18

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

01:01.6075

104.364

1.0040

0.0267

15

18

19

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

01:01.6608

104.274

1.0573

0.0533

13

13

20

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

01:01.7292

104.158

1.1257

0.0684

19

19

21

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

01:01.8297

103.989

1.2262

0.1005

15

23

22

20

Pigot, Spencer (R)

D/C/C/F

01:02.1438

103.463

1.5403

0.3141

15

24

(R) Rookie (C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone

Total Laps: 462

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