Ryan Briscoe has become the first Australian to claim pole position at the famed Indianapolis 500 after a tense Pole Day at the Brickyard.
The Sydneysider edged out Canadian James Hinchcliffe by the smallest margin in Indy 500 history – over four timed qualifying laps the two drivers’ average speeds were separated by an incredible 0.003 miles per hour.
Briscoe set the benchmark at the wheel of his Chevrolet-powered Dallara with an average speed over his four laps of 226.484 miles per hour.
As time wound down in qualifying, Andretti Autosport’s Hinchcliffe looked to have snatched pole from the Penske driver, however he could not maintain the blistering pace on the last of his four laps and had to settle for second position with an average of 226.481mph.
Briscoe’s team mate Will Power previously held the highest-placed starting position for an Australian at Indy, lining up second in 2010. He secured fifth on the grid for the May 27 race.
Briscoe was proud of the result and thanked his team for their hard work.
“We worked so hard, and man, Chevrolet has some horsepower” said Briscoe.
“It’s an award that will go down with my name on it forever; even just a pole win here is remembered.
“I was really proud of myself and my team today...”
The top five were as follows:
- Ryan Briscoe, Penske DW12-Chevy, 226.484mph
- James Hinchcliffe, Andretti DW12-Chevy, 226.481mph
- Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti DW12-Chevy, 226.240mph
- Marco Andretti, Andretti DW12-Chevy, 225.456mph
- Will Power, Penske DW12-Chevy, 225.442mph