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Race one of the Honda Indy Toronto 2013 double-header race weekend is done and New Zealander, Scott Dixon claimed the win for the second time in as many weeks.
Sebastian Bourdais, of France, finished second – his first podium finish in Indycar since 2007. He returned to the series last year after several years in Europe racing Formula One and Le Mans cars.
Dixon's team-mate, Scotsman, Dario Franchitti, who was the pole-sitter for race one, came third. All three podium finishers are former series champions and Bourdais and Franchitti have both won in Toronto, but this was the first win here for Dixon,
Hometown hero, James Hinchcliffe, who started 14th, finished eighth. Alex Tagliani, the only other Canadian in the race, started 17th and worked his way up avs far as 10th late in the race, but he was squeezed into a spin in corner one with four laps to go and finished 17th.
The race was intended to feature a Formula One-style standing start for the first time this year but it had to be aborted because of a stalled car on the grid so it reverted to the usual rolling-start format.
Spectators will get a second chance at the spectacle as the organizers have announced a change in the planned format for today's race, to incorporate a standing start for it instead of the rolling start initially scheduled.
There was plenty of close and exciting racing, with a lot of passes and a few incidents, and race strategy, in terms of tire choices, pit-stop timing and use of push-to-pass allocations, leaving the end results in doubt right to the final laps.
Yesterday's winner, Dixon, had already claimed pole position for today's race in a second qualifying session Saturday morning. He will be joined on the front row by team-mate, Franchitti, with current series points leader Helio Castroneves behind in third and last year's Toronto race winner and series chanpion, Ryan Hunter-Reay in fourth.
Canadian drivers, Tagliani and Hinchcliffe, will start ninth and 12th, respectively.
As an indication of the equality in the series, the top 14 drivers qualified within one-tenth of a second around the 2.8 km course.
The race is scheduled to start at 3:40 PM and it will be televised live on SportsNet.
Fujj qualifying results, showing qualifying position, driver, time and speed (in MPH), are listed below:
1 - Scott Dixon - 58.9686 - 107.142 MPH
2 - Dario Franchitti - 59.1905 - 106.740 MPH
3 - Helio Castroneves - 59.1953 - 106.731 MPH
4 - Ryan Hunter-Reay - 59.3915 - 106.379 MPH
5 - Will Power - 59.2503 - 106.632 MPH
6 - Tony Kanaan - 59.5360 - 106.121 MPH
7 - Sebastien Bourdais - 59.5421 - 106.110 MPH
8 - Ryan Briscoe - 59.5473 - 106.101 MPH
9 - Alex Tagliani - 59.7821 - 105.723 MPH
10 - Simona De Silvestro - 59.6489 - 105.920 MPH
11 - E.J. Viso - 59.7821 - 105.684 MPH
12 - James Hinchcliffe - 59.6750 - 105.809 MPH
13 - Simon Pagenaud - 59.8326 - 105.595 MPH
14 - Justin Wilson - 59.7113 - 105.809 MPH
15 - Takuma Sato - 60.0874 - 105.147 MPH
16 - Charlie Kimball - 59.7871 - 105.675 MPH
17 - Tristan Vautier - 60.3204 - 104.741 MPH
18 - Marco Andretti - 59.9216 - 105.616 MPH
19 - Josef Newgarden - 60.6174 - 104.227 MPH
20 - Graham Rahal - 59.9216 - 105.438 MPH
21 - James Jakes - 60.7204 - 104.051 MPH
22 - Sebastian Saavedra - 60.1913 - 104.965 MPH
23 - Ed Carpenter - 60.9519 - 103.656 MPH
24 - Mike Conway - 60.3919 - 104.617 MPH
Briscoe qualified eighth for race two but he suffered a broken wrist in a race-one incident and will be replaced by Indy Lights star, Carlos Munoz for today's race. Because of the driver change, Munoz will have to start from the rear of the grid.