Barber IndyCar: O’Ward sees off Rossi to secure pole position

Pato O’Ward has secured his second IndyCar career pole position, beating Alexander Rossi by less than one-tenth of a second at the 2021 opener at Barber.

Barber IndyCar: O’Ward sees off Rossi to secure pole position

The Arrow McLaren SP driver, who is embarking on only his second full season in IndyCar, produced a new track record of 1m05.847s to edge out Rossi of Andretti Autosport by just 0.069s.

In the frantic fast six final qualifying stage, fellow youngster Alex Palou narrowly missed out on the front row in his first qualifying for Chip Ganassi Racing and had to settle for third, while four-time Barber polesitter Will Power was the top Team Penske driver in fourth place.

Six-time and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, who is seeking his first Barber win, will line up in fifth, alongside team-mate Marcus Ericsson who made it three Ganassi cars in the top six.

Romain Grosjean narrowly missed out on the pole position shootout by being shuffled out in the second session, with the former Formula 1 driver set to start his IndyCar debut from seventh position for Dale Coyne Racing.

Grosjean, who will make his first race start since his fiery crash at last year’s F1 Bahrain Grand Prix in which he suffered burns to his hands, initially laid down the marker to beat in the penultimate qualifying session, but was quickly pushed aside by O’Ward and Palou.

Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda

Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

Ericsson and Dixon underlined just how strong the Chip Ganassi Racing package looks to be this year by comfortably making it into the top six shootout, as Power’s late lap prevented Grosjean from making it into the final qualifying stage on debut.

Three-time Barber winner Josef Newgarden also missed out on the top six shootout for Team Penske, who starts the 2021 opener from eighth place.

Andretti’s Colton Herta and Conor Daly (Ed Carpenter Racing) rounded out the top 10, while IndyCar debutant Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) also impressed to qualify 12th just behind Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing.

The final IndyCar debutant, NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson, avoided qualifying last by beating Dalton Kellett (AJ Foyt) with the Chip Ganassi Racing driver lining up in 22nd place.

IndyCar Barber - Qualifying Results - Q3

Q2

Q1 G2

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 1'06.069  
2 France Romain Grosjean Dale Coyne Racing with RWR 1'06.070 0.001
3 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 1'06.103 0.033
4 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 1'06.234 0.164
5 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 1'06.377 0.307
6 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 1'06.428 0.358
7 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 1'06.477 0.407
8 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1'06.503 0.433
9 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1'06.848 0.779
10 United Kingdom Max Chilton United Kingdom Carlin 1'07.002 0.932
11 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP 1'07.025 0.955
12 Canada James Hinchcliffe Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 11'16.723 10'10.653

Q1 G1

shares
comments

Related video

Barber IndyCar: Rossi tops disrupted second practice

Previous article

Barber IndyCar: Rossi tops disrupted second practice

Next article

Grosjean “super happy” with P7 for IndyCar Series debut

Grosjean “super happy” with P7 for IndyCar Series debut
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Event Birmingham
Drivers Pato O'Ward
Author David Malsher
How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals Plus

How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals

Colton Herta's dominant IndyCar win on the streets of St. Petersburg confirmed what rivals have long-suspected - that the second-generation racer is destined for stardom. But it was Herta's comments afterwards that gave perhaps the most interesting insight into a driver that will be around for a long time to come

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival? Plus

How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? DAVID MALSHER-LOPEZ investigates Palou's potential

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

IndyCar
Apr 16, 2021
The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021 Plus

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021

From rookies arriving with big reputations to veterans who still have the fire and an F1-linked squad pushing to join the big leagues, IndyCar has it all this year. Here are six of the key storylines to keep track of

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021
Why American racing's top dog is without equal Plus

Why American racing's top dog is without equal

A byword for success in business and in motorsport for over 50 years, Roger Penske's importance to the US scene cannot be understated. In an exclusive interview, the custodian of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway reflects on his journey

IndyCar
Jan 11, 2021