British racing driver, Pippa Mann, took pole position for the Indy Lights Firestone Freedom 100 race, after a sensational qualifying effort. The young Brit becomes the first female driver in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 101-year history to put a car on pole.

After a solid fifth position in both practice sessions, Mann went out for qualifying and recorded a convincing average speed of 187.989 mph (1 minute, 35.7505 seconds) around the 2.5 mile oval.

The Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver took provisional pole with just five cars left to qualify. Despite a challenge from last year’s Freedom 100 winner Wade Cunningham, Mann’s time could not be surpassed. She took the pole – launching herself into the record books and to the front of the field for tomorrow’s Firestone Freedom 100.

An elated Mann said: “I knew we had a quick race car, but I wasn’t expecting to be on pole position today. I was concerned after practice that the car felt too loose, so my engineer made some changes and when I went out to qualify, the car felt great.

“My dash wasn’t working and I had no idea what my speed was, so you can imagine how surprised I was to find out we were on pole!”

“I’m really looking forward to the race – last year was a disappointment for me, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get back out there and go for the win.”

Mann will line-up beside team mate Cunningham to complete a Sam Schmidt Motorsports front row, with the AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport cars of Charlie Kimball and Martin Plowman on row two.

The Firestone Freedom 100 starts at 12:30pm local time, on Friday 28 May, 2010.

Images: Palindrome Sports,