Franchitti’s pole legacy at Toronto spans three decades

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Dario Franchitti’s experience level is such that he has won poles at Toronto in three different decades. His pole on Friday for the first of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader weekend is his fifth on the streets of Exhibition Place, to go along with other poles in 1997 (his rookie year in CART), 1998, 2009 and 2012.

“Gee, my first one was 1997. T.K. was here. Will was still at school. Dixie, what were you doing in 1997?” the Scot asked of several of his fellow Firestone Fast Six participants.

Franchitti made things a bit more difficult for himself after an incident in the morning, which sent his Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew scrambling to fix the right hand side of his car. The pole is his third of 2013, to go along with other poles at Long Beach and Detroit race one.

“It feels good to get our third pole of the year,” he said. “I made it difficult this morning. I made a mistake in Turn 5 there, took the right side off the car. The guys had to work and repair the car.

“But the Target car was good on Firestone blacks, Firestone reds. I was able to keep finding a little bit every lap. Even the second runner-up on tires in Q3, I was able to push a little bit more. Yeah, felt really good about that.”

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.