Detroit IndyCar: O’Ward beats Rossi and Grosjean for opening race pole

Pato O’Ward secured his second pole position of the 2021 IndyCar season, edging former Formula 1 drivers Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean in qualifying for race one of the Detroit Grand Prix double-header.

Detroit IndyCar: O’Ward beats Rossi and Grosjean for opening race pole

The Detroit Grand Prix traditionally has a different qualifying system than the other road and street courses, but this year it has been brought much closer in line with the regular system, with the 25 cars divided into groups of 12 and 13 in qualifying, with the top six from each going into a top 12 fight for pole. The difference to regular qualifying for road and street circuits was that there was no final session shootout for pole position between the top six drivers.

As the drivers discovered yesterday, the softer red-walled Firestone tyre compounds were taking a long time to get up to operating temperature around the 2.35-mile course, meaning many drivers cut short their ‘banker’ laps on the primary compound to work on the reds for longer.

That didn’t explain Andretti Autosport’s two-time Detroit polesitter Rossi laying down a startling 1m15.8507s in Group 1 to beat the rest of his rivals field – led by Dale Coyne Racing with RWR’s Grosjean – by an incredible 0.82s. But it did explain why Will Power only scraped through with his second flyer on reds.

The biggest surprise was Chip Ganassi Racing’s championship leader Alex Palou finishing 11th in the first group of qualifying. His misery was multiplied, knowing that he was being penalised a further six places for his early engine change at the Indy 500.

Rossi’s lap time was put in perspective when the second group ran, as Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden beat it, while Colton Herta (Andretti) and Ed Jones (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan) matched it.

Ganassi’s Jimmie Johnson made a notable stride overnight, knocking more than two seconds off his deficit to the fastest in his session, to finish up 3.2s down.

With Newgarden, Scott Dixon and O’Ward heading straight out on softer tyres in the top 12 shootout, the times tumbled, with Grosjean, O’Ward, Rossi and Jones all taking turns at the top, until the Arrow McLaren SP driver nailed his second pole of the season with a scintillating 1m15.5776s.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

That was a mere 0.08s faster than Rossi, while Grosjean was by far the quickest rookie in third place for Dale Coyne Racing, ahead of Jones.

Josef Newgarden was top Penske driver in fifth, although Power was tracking to be 0.18s faster than polesitter O’Ward, but clipped a wall with his left-rear wheel and at the next corner, a right-hander, the rears locked and he grazed a tyre wall, ending his bid with seventh place, behind Andretti's Colton Herta.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won here in 2018, took eighth place for Andretti, half a second ahead of Team Penske's Pagenaud, while former Detroit winners Sebastien Bourdais (AJ Foyt) and Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) beat Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing), who has never raced here before.

The first race of the Detroit double-header begins at 2pm local time (7pm BST) on Saturday.

Detroit IndyCar qualifying one results:

P

No

Name

FTime

Diff

Gap

FL

Laps

LapTime

LPit

Led

ST

FSpeed

Elapsed

Engine

Tire

Points

Team

1

5

Pato O'Ward

1:15.5776

1:15.5776

0.000

5

6

1:15.9660

2

 

4

111.938

10:28.5995

Chevy

A

4

Arrow McLaren SP

2

27

Alexander Rossi

1:15.6584

0.0808

0.0808

5

6

1:17.2442

3

 

1

111.818

10:55.5678

Honda

A

17

Andretti Autosport

3

51

Romain Grosjean

1:15.7433

0.1657

0.0849

5

7

1:16.4667

4

 

2

111.693

11:06.2424

Honda

A

22

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

4

18

Ed Jones

1:15.8119

0.2343

0.0686

5

6

1:22.1732

3

 

9

111.592

10:05.2832

Honda

A

12

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

5

2

Josef Newgarden

1:15.8697

0.2921

0.0578

5

6

1:20.2025

3

 

7

111.507

9:57.0789

Chevy

A

1

Team Penske

6

26

Colton Herta

1:16.0832

0.5056

0.2135

4

6

1:19.6969

3

 

8

111.194

10:51.1165

Honda

A

16

Andretti Autosport

7

12

Will Power

1:16.0877

0.5101

0.0045

5

6

1:27.6789

3

 

6

111.187

10:48.3350

Chevy

A

9

Team Penske

8

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:16.1293

0.5517

0.0416

5

6

1:22.1082

3

 

10

111.127

10:27.5691

Honda

A

18

Andretti Autosport

9

22

Simon Pagenaud

1:16.6606

1.0830

0.5313

5

6

1:17.1011

3

 

5

110.357

10:43.8487

Chevy

A

15

Team Penske

10

14

Sebastien Bourdais

1:17.4333

1.8557

0.7727

4

5

1:29.6434

3

 

11

109.255

10:01.3971

Chevy

A

10

AJ Foyt Enterprises

11

9

Scott Dixon

1:17.8680

2.2904

0.4347

4

5

1:23.6258

2

 

12

108.645

9:04.9102

Honda

A

7

Chip Ganassi Racing

12

21

Rinus VeeKay

1:17.8776

2.3000

0.0096

2

6

1:19.4432

3

 

3

108.632

9:55.0470

Chevy

A

14

Ed Carpenter Racing

 

Segment 1, Group 2

P

No

Name

FTime

Diff

Gap

FL

Laps

LapTime

LPit

Led

ST

FSpeed

Elapsed

Engine

Tire

Points

Team

1

2

Josef Newgarden

1:15.6606

1:15.6606

0.000

6

6

1:15.6606

3

 

4

111.815

9:55.3927

Chevy

A

1

Team Penske

2

26

Colton Herta

1:15.8439

0.1833

0.1833

6

6

1:15.8439

3

 

3

111.545

10:21.6789

Honda

A

16

Andretti Autosport

3

18

Ed Jones

1:15.8696

0.2090

0.0257

5

6

1:21.8522

3

 

10

111.507

10:19.8093

Honda

A

12

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

4

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:16.1328

0.4722

0.2632

5

6

1:16.8822

3

 

5

111.122

10:42.2878

Honda

A

18

Andretti Autosport

5

14

Sebastien Bourdais

1:16.1339

0.4733

0.0011

6

6

1:16.1339

3

 

1

111.120

10:53.3435

Chevy

A

10

AJ Foyt Enterprises

6

9

Scott Dixon

1:16.3151

0.6545

0.1812

6

6

1:16.3151

3

 

2

110.856

10:06.9233

Honda

A

7

Chip Ganassi Racing

7

7

Felix Rosenqvist

1:16.4620

0.8014

0.1469

6

6

1:16.4620

2

 

7

110.643

10:47.8395

Chevy

A

5

Arrow McLaren SP

8

30

Takuma Sato

1:16.4713

0.8107

0.0093

6

6

1:16.4713

3

 

6

110.630

10:37.5001

Honda

A

20

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

9

59

Max Chilton

1:16.6093

0.9487

0.1380

6

6

1:16.6093

3

 

9

110.430

10:59.4582

Chevy

A

23

Carlin

10

15

Graham Rahal

1:16.6694

1.0088

0.0601

6

6

1:16.6694

3

 

8

110.344

10:34.7226

Honda

A

11

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

11

45

Santino Ferrucci

1:16.6880

1.0274

0.0186

2

6

1:22.3022

0

 

11

110.317

10:32.8580

Honda

A

34

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

12

3

Scott McLaughlin

1:17.5569

1.8963

0.8689

6

6

1:17.5569

3

 

12

109.081

10:14.5668

Chevy

A

2

Team Penske

 

Segment 1, Group 1

P

No

Name

FTime

Diff

Gap

FL

Laps

LapTime

LPit

Led

ST

FSpeed

Elapsed

Engine

Tire

Points

Team

1

27

Alexander Rossi

1:15.8507

1:15.8507

0.000

5

5

1:15.8507

3

 

3

111.535

9:44.6025

Honda

A

101

Andretti Autosport

2

51

Romain Grosjean

1:16.6715

0.8208

0.8208

6

7

1:23.4482

4

 

7

110.341

11:13.7676

Honda

A

81

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

3

21

Rinus VeeKay

1:16.8172

0.9665

0.1457

5

6

1:23.5530

4

 

5

110.132

10:05.2556

Chevy

A

191

Ed Carpenter Racing

4

5

Pato O'Ward

1:16.8406

0.9899

0.0234

6

6

1:16.8406

2

 

2

110.098

10:53.8750

Chevy

A

211

Arrow McLaren SP

5

22

Simon Pagenaud

1:16.9636

1.1129

0.1230

4

6

1:24.2476

1

 

10

109.922

10:40.2294

Chevy

A

201

Team Penske

6

12

Will Power

1:17.0343

1.1836

0.0707

6

6

1:17.0343

3

 

1

109.821

10:35.6645

Chevy

A

128

Team Penske

7

29

James Hinchcliffe

1:17.0691

1.2184

0.0348

3

5

1:17.3841

0

 

6

109.772

10:25.5940

Honda

A

74

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

8

8

Marcus Ericsson

1:17.1579

1.3072

0.0888

5

5

1:17.1579

2

 

4

109.645

10:03.3293

Honda

A

138

Chip Ganassi Racing

9

20

Conor Daly

1:17.2904

1.4397

0.1325

5

6

1:17.7941

4

 

9

109.457

10:50.8945

Chevy

A

85

Ed Carpenter Racing

10

60

Jack Harvey

1:17.4180

1.5673

0.1276

5

6

1:18.3300

3

 

11

109.277

10:58.5183

Honda

A

121

Meyer Shank Racing

11

10

Alex Palou

1:17.5190

1.6683

0.1010

6

6

1:17.5190

3

 

8

109.135

10:08.1970

Honda

A

248

Chip Ganassi Racing

12

48

Jimmie Johnson

1:19.0944

3.2437

1.5754

6

6

1:19.0944

0

 

13

106.961

10:15.3755

Honda

A

25

Chip Ganassi Racing

13

4

Dalton Kellett

1:19.4821

3.6314

0.3877

2

6

3:15.9755

4

 

12

106.439

13:14.0132

Chevy

A

62

AJ Foyt Enterprises

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