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Dixon on pole for Indy 500, Alonso fifth

Motorsport

Indianapolis, Indiana – New Zealand's Scott Dixon won the pole for next week's Indianapolis 500 when he posted the fastest average speed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Former double Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, the only rookie in Sunday's nine-car shootout, will start from the second row in fifth position as he makes his Indy debut.

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Scott Dixon celebrates with his wife Emma, and daughters Poppy and Tilly after winning the pole shootout for the 2017 Indianapolis 500. Picture: Michael Conroy / APAlonso was the only rookie to make the nine-car shoot-out. Picture: IndyCar.com

Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner, will be joined on the front row for the race on 28 May by Ed Carpenter and 2016 winner, Alexander Rossi.

"It feels damn good," Dixon, 36, said after he posted an average speed of 373.632km/h during his four laps. "This is job one. Obviously the real deal is coming up in a week's time. That's when we're going to push even harder and capitalise more."

Alonso was competitive in the race, posting a 370.080km/h average speed that briefly put him in the lead.

"This is the biggest race in the world," he said. "I'm looking forward to next Sunday."

He said he was feeling more comfortable in the cockpit of an IndyCar and said participation in the race by European Formula One drivers like himself and Rossi was good for motorsport.

"I don't think that we need to separate too much F1 or IndyCar or rally or stock car. I mean, at the end of the day, it's just motorsport."

Alonso was the only rookie to make the nine-car shoot-out. Picture: IndyCar.com

Wind and track temperatures that reached 45.6 degrees made for challenging racing conditions, causing Japan's Takuma Sato to brush up against the wall twice during his run. Sato, 40, still posted an average speed of 370.184km/h, good for fourth.

Hot weather is expected again next weekend when more than 300 000 fans will descend on the Speedway for the "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on the sprawling four-kilometre oval speedway.

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