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Rosenqvist edges Power for pole - IndyCar Long Beach Qualifying Report

Written by Jake O’Callaghan

The IndyCar Series hit the streets of Long Beach, California today with the qualifying session, setting the grid for the most prestigious IndyCar race behind the Indianapolis 500. This session was also the first competitive appearance for the new-and-improved aeroscreen design, another variable teams had to get on top of. 

Round 1

In Round 1, Group 1, a number of big-hitters were bumped out of qualifying. The top six advance in each session, and Alexander Rossi just missed out, sitting at seventh place in the session. Rossi said that his No.7 Arrow McLaren team was “just missing overall pace.” Elsewhere, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Christian Rasmussen was eliminated after being impeded by Sting Ray Robb, the drivers making minor contact at turn five. Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) driver Linus Lundqvist was also eliminated, the IndyCar rookie sitting in ninth for the group. 

Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) driver Felix Rosenqvist continued his rapid qualifying pace seen from the first two races of the season, topping the session. He was flanked by previous Long Beach winner and California native Colton Herta in second. The other drivers to advance were Dixon, Power, Palou, and Rahal.

In Round 1, Group 2, the trend of highly-regarded drivers being eliminated continued.Chief of which being Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, who like his teammate, finished seventh. Both Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) cars were eliminated, with Grosjean eighth and Canapino ninth. Canapino took another hit at the end of the session, going down the turn 9 escape road and stalling the car. Théo Pourchaire impressed in his first competitive IndyCar session, despite a brush with the wall he finished 11th in the session. Looking forward to tomorrow’s race, the Formula 2 champion said he will try to “learn as much as possible.” He stated that his goal for the race is to “get close to the top ten.”

Marcus Armstrong topped the session for CGR, his time 0.15s faster that Rosenqvist’s fastest time in group 1, displaying the high amount of track evolution. Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson finished second, reprising his quick qualifying pace from earlier this season on this fast-but-technical street circuit. The other drivers to advance were Kirkwood, McLaughlin, Lundgaard, and Newgarden. 

Fast 12

A frantic end to the Fast 12 session, with multiple favourites trying to race their way into the Fast 6. The biggest upset of the session was Kyle Kirkwood, last year’s dominant winner and defending pole sitter was eliminated, only managing a tenth place. “It’s tight margins, I was just stuck in dirty air from Felix [Rosenqvist]” the Florida native said. Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin also failed to advance, finishing 11th. The New Zealand driver said “we just didn’t quite hit it on that run, it’s a bit of a bummer.” The other drivers to be eliminated were Lundgaard, Dixon, Armstrong, and Rahal.

CGR’s Alex Palou topped the session, the first driver in qualifying to achieve a lap in the 1m05s bracket. Behind him, it was Herta, Newgarden, Ericsson, Rosenqvist, and Power.

Fast 6

In a thrilling finish to the final qualifying session, Felix Rosenqvist put Meyer Shank Racing on pole position. He beat the greatest ever IndyCar qualifying driver, just 0.004s ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power in second. Rosenqvist said: “it was hard, huge respect for Power, it doesn’t come easy, every lap out there you’re flirting with the walls,” speaking on MSR’s chances tomorrow, he said: “it’s huge to start on pole, historically it’s a good race to lead, and our package has been good here in the past.” 

Will Power said on qualifying second: “we can certainly win from there.” Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden finished third, despite a slight tap with the wall. Andretti Global’s Colton Herta finished fourth. Marcus Ericsson attempted an offset strategy in this session, but he only managed fifth. CGR’s Alex Palou qualified sixth. 

2024 Grand Prix of Long Beach Qualifying Order

  1. Felix Rosenqvist

  2. Will Power

  3. Josef Newgarden

  4. Colton Herta

  5. Marcus Ericsson

  6. Álex Palou

  7. Christian Lundgaard

  8. Scott Dixon

  9. Marcus Armstrong

  10. Kyle Kirkwood

  11. Scott McLaughlin

  12. Graham Rahal

  13. Alexander Rossi

  14. Pato O’Ward

  15. Tom Blomqvist

  16. Romain Grosjean

  17. Linus Lundqvist

  18. Agustin Canapino

  19. Pietro Fittipaldi

  20. Rinus VeeKay

  21. Christian Rasmussen

  22. Théo Pourchaire

  23. Jack Harvey

  24. Santino Ferrucci

  25. Sting Ray Robb

  26. Kyffin Simpson

  27. Nolan Siegel


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