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Palou upsets Penske - IndyCar Indy GP Qualifying Report

Written by Jake O’Callaghan

Credit: Ryan Fleming

The IndyCar Series took to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in qualifying for the Indy GP. 

Round 1

Group 1

Many drivers set laps early in the session on the primary tyres but all emerged on the alternates for the final runs of the session. Will Power continued Team Penske’s good form in 2024 by topping the timings in this session. He finished ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) driver Rinus VeeKay, who looked to avenge his poor qualifying result in the previous race at Barber after his engine had technical issues. Josef Newgarden finished third, with the Arrow McLaren duo of O’Ward and Rossi fourth and fifth respectively. Pietro Fittipaldi raised eyebrows by finishing sixth and transferring into the Fast 12 for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) team. 

There were some surprise exits in this session. Barber winner Scott McLaughlin failed to transfer, as did Barber podium finisher Linus Lundqvist. Agustin Canapino finished the session in eighth, cementing the best qualifying effort of his IndyCar career. The other drivers to be bumped were Harvey, Ericsson, Grosjean, and Simpson.

Group 2

Graham Rahal had a dicey start to the session, stalling his car in the pitlane and slightly delaying his emergence onto the track. He had more issues later in the session after he ran into traffic on a flying lap, losing the good window he had his tyres in. His patience was rewarded as he finished fourth and transferred to the Fast 12. Felix Rosenqvist and Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) topped the session once again this year. Christian Lundgaard finished second behind, with Marcus Armstrong fourth. Alex Palou finished fifth and his teammate Scott Dixon took the final transfer spot in sixth.

Among the eliminated drivers, Colton Herta had to pull over on track after his car ran out of fuel, the championship leader was eliminated from the session in 12th. He joined his teammate Kyle Kirkwood in being eliminated, meaning none of the Andretti Global drivers managed to transfer. This was particularly painful for that team as they were one of a few teams that ran a testing program at this track in previous weeks, punctuating a large shock in qualifying. The other eliminations in this session were Ferrucci, Pourchaire, Rasmussen, Ghiotto, Blomqvist, and Robb.

Fast 12

The twelve remaining drivers were split in half in the Fast 12 session, as every driver vyed to be among the six to have a chance at taking pole position. Will Power topped his second consecutive session today, finishing ahead of Christian Lundgaard who finished second, as he did in Round 1. Alex Palou finished in third for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR). Pato O’Ward finished fourth, with Newgarden fifth and Dixon sixth. 

Alexander Rossi just missed out on transferring by two hundredths of a second behind Dixon. Armstrong was eighth. Graham Rahal was eliminated just behind. Rahal said: “We've not had an easy day,” “anything that could go wrong, has gone wrong today.” On starting ninth tomorrow, he said: “we would have liked to be a lot further forward.” Behind him, Rosenqvist will start tenth, with Fittipaldi 11th and VeeKay 12th.

Fast 6

Alex Palou ran into issues early on in the session, locking up and running onto the grass at Turn 12. Team Penske were running one-two with Power and Newgarden after the first runs of the session. However, with a number of messy runs from all drivers at the end, Alex Palou took pole position for CGR. Christian Lundgaard was second, continuing his perfect record of starting in the top 6 of every spring Indy Road Course race. Power finished third after losing his final time with a large oversteer moment in the final corner. His teammate Newgarden starts alongside him on the second row in fourth. O’Ward will start on the third row in fifth, alongside the most recent winner at this track, Scott Dixon, who starts sixth.

Credit: Ryan Fleming

On getting pole position, Alex Palou said: “It’s been a tough day, really happy to be there.” He continued: “I didn't expect it.” “It’s a tricky place, every time you can start up front in IndyCar it makes a difference.”

Will Power was disappointed not to get pole, he stated: “We were a little down so I pushed extremely hard.” “We were super quick through all the rounds, those tyres there just never came in,” “maybe I should have run a bit harder on my first lap, I just looked after them and they never came in.”

2024 Indy GP Qualifying Order

  1. Alex Palou

  2. Christian Lundgaard

  3. Will Power

  4. Josef Newgarden

  5. Pato O’Ward

  6. Scott Dixon

  7. Alexander Rossi

  8. Marcus Armstrong

  9. Graham Rahal

  10. Felix Rosenqvist

  11. Pietro Fittipaldi

  12. Rinus VeeKay

  13. Scott McLaughlin

  14. Kyle Kirkwood

  15. Agustin Canapino

  16. Santino Ferrucci

  17. Jack Harvey

  18. Theo Pourchaire

  19. Linus Lundqvist

  20. Christian Rasmussen

  21. Marcus Ericsson

  22. Luca Ghiotto

  23. Romain Grosjean

  24. Colton Herta

  25. Kyffin Simpson

  26. Tom Blomqvist

  27. Sting Ray Robb


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