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Qualifying Report: Honda Indy Toronto

TORONTO – Toronto is one of the favorite venues in the NTT IndyCar Series for the ABC Supply Racing drivers Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist but this weekend has been frustrating for both of them.

After qualifying today on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile street circuit, Leist will start 19th and Kanaan 22nd in the Honda Indy Grand Prix.

At the start of the qualifying session, a problem with shifting gears cost Leist some time on track and he was only able to get one run in. Unhappy with his car after yesterday’s practices, the team made some big changes overnight but Leist wasn’t happy with the car after the morning practice either. Some minor changes before qualifying didn’t help that much and they are still looking for speed.

“It was a difficult day here at the track,” Leist said. “I feel like we went through some stuff that we thought was going to work and it just didn’t. Then for qualifying we just didn’t want to risk it all again and take big swings on the car, so we stuck to what we thought was okay and that’s how we qualified. We also had a small problem before qualifying – my car wouldn’t shift – so unfortunately I didn’t get to do two runs but it is what it is. I think we didn’t have the pace to advance even if we had done the second run so we’ll work in the warmup tomorrow to try and figure out what’s the best car for us for the race and go race.”

Kanaan had posted a time of 59.7317 seconds (107.641mph) which was actually quicker than his teammate’s time of 1 minute, 0.1853 seconds (106.830mph), but because of the way road and street course qualifying is organized into groups, Kanaan will start behind him. Leist qualified 10th in the first group of 11 drivers to start inside row 10 while Kanaan qualified 11th in the second group of 11 to start outside row 11.

“The way that the groups were actually cost us three positions in qualifying,” Kanaan said. “Actually, we were quicker than three cars but the way they stagger (the lineup), it looks worse than it is. I think we’ve been closer to the people we’re fighting to be in the top 12 than we were in the past few weeks so I guess that’s a positive thing. Obviously we still have a lot of things to work on, but all in all I think we found a direction which is what I’m banking on for tomorrow.”

The teams have a 30-minute warmup tomorrow morning to make final preparations for the race.

Simon Pagenaud won his second pole of the season and 12th of his career with his run of 58.4293 seconds (110.041mph). Lining up behind Pagenaud are Scott Dixon, rookie Felix Rosenqvist, Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden and Ed Jones.

The 85-lap race will be broadcast live tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. It will also air on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, SiriusXM Radio, channel 209.

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