By Steve Wittich
The combination of overcast skies and cooler temperatures meant that the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit was extremely quick on Saturday morning. The USF2000 track record fell by more then a full second in the first session of the morning, and Colton Herta’s pole lap of 63.685 seconds was 1.5 seconds quicker then the track record lap record the second generation set last year.
For the ninth time in his Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires career, the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing sophomore will begin a race from pole. It’s the 18-year-olds second straight pole on the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit and moves him into a tie for fifth with Thiago Mederios, Wade Cunningham, and Greg Moore on the career Indy Lights pole list.
Herta’s lap was over two-tenths of a second quicker than his teammate Patricio O’Ward. Only 0.0006 seconds behind the Mexican rookie was Santi Urrutia, who will start inside his Belardi Auto Racing teammate Aaron Telitz on the second row.
The qualifying session began promptly at 8:35 AM and Herta was the first driver to take to the 1.786-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit.
At the one third point of the session, it was Patricio O’Ward on the provisional pole ahead of O’Ward, Urrutia, Telitz, Ryan Norman, Victor Franzoni and Dalton Kellett.
Franzoni, Herta and Kellett were the first cars to pit road for adjustment and fresh Cooper Tire rubber, and within the next two laps, the entire field visited pit roads.
All seven cars were on track in the final 10 minutes and Urrutia was the first driver to go to the top of the timesheet.
In the final four minutes, Herta moved ahead of Urrutia, but that only lasted until O’Ward went two-hundreths faster when he crossed the timing line.
Herta went quicker the next lap across the timing line (located between Turn 8 and Turn 9) and again the next lap.
None of the remaining drivers could best the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing driver who was still pushing on his final lap ended up in the tire barriers
Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto Presented by Allied Building Products qualifying #1
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The first Indy Lights race of the weekend rolls off at 1:50 PM.
You can watch the Indy Lights action on NBCSN at 6 PM on Monday.