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Qualifying report

Indy 500: Alex Palou takes pole position at over 234mph

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou will start the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 next Sunday from pole position after topping the Fast Six with a new pole-day qualifying record.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Palou set the fastest four-lap average of 234.217mph around the 2.5-mile oval, narrowly defeating Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay.

Palou signalled his intent with an opening lap of 235.131mph, and his four-lap average was 234.217mph. “That was fun, very fun,” he said on the radio.

“It means the world to me, we knew it was going to be tight, they gave the fastest car to me,” he said. “Watching [the other drivers] was tougher than doing the four laps.”

VeeKay will start second with a speed of 234.211mph, just 0.004s and 0.006mph slower than Palou.

“I got everything out of it, but it’s just so tight,” he said. “I thought we really had a shot at pole position.”

Top 12 qualifying pacesetter Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist fell below the 235mph barrier required on the opening lap, and could only manage third with 234.114mph.

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Santino Ferrucci (AJ Foyt Racing) will start fourth, having got high in Turn 1 on his opening lap, having entered the corner at over 240mph, and he couldn’t repeat the speed he showed in Top 12 qualifying. His average speed was 233.661mph and he admitted “that wasn’t what we wanted” on the radio.

Pato O’Ward lapped his Honda-powered Arrow McLaren in 233.756mph for fifth. “My first Fast Six and it’s awesome for the team,” he said.

Scott Dixon, who was hunting for this third consecutive pole for Ganassi, battled loose handling after a strong opener, his effort producing 233.151mph for sixth. He reported: “The run for us was too on the nose, it was super loose and scrubbing speed from the get-go.”

Of those who didn’t make it to the Fast Six from the earlier Sunday qualifying session, Alexander Rossi (McLaren) will start the Indy 500 in seventh, ahead of Takuma Sato (CGR), Tony Kanaan (McLaren), Marcus Ericsson (CGR), top rookie Benjamin Pedersen (AJ Foyt Racing) and Will Power (Team Penske).

The final row of the grid was also decided today, with Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) starting 31st, ahead of Sting Ray Robb (Dale Coyne Racing) and Jack Harveywho bumped out RLLR team-mate Graham Rahal in the dying moments of last-chance qualifying.

Indy 500 - Fast Six results

Cla Driver Team Time Mph
1 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 2'33.7037 234.217
2 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 2'33.7077 234.211
3 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren 2'33.7713 234.114
4 United States Santino Ferrucci United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 2'34.0695 233.661
5 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren 2'34.4015 233.158
6 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 2'34.4066 233.151

Indy 500 - Starting grid

 Cla   Driver   Car / Engine 
1 Alex Palou Dallara/Honda
2 R.van Kalmthout Dallara/Chevrolet
3 Felix Rosenqvist Dallara/Chevrolet
4 Santino Ferrucci Dallara/Chevrolet
5 Patricio O'Ward Dallara/Chevrolet
6 Scott Dixon Dallara/Honda
7 Alexander Rossi Dallara/Chevrolet
8 Takuma Sato Dallara/Honda
9 Tony Kanaan Dallara/Chevrolet
10 Marcus Ericsson Dallara/Honda
11 B.Pedersen Dallara/Chevrolet
12 Will Power Dallara/Chevrolet
13 Ed Carpenter Dallara/Chevrolet
14 Scott McLaughlin Dallara/Chevrolet
15 Kyle Kirkwood Dallara/Honda
16 Conor Daly Dallara/Chevrolet
17 Josef Newgarden Dallara/Chevrolet
18 Ryan Hunter-Reay Dallara/Chevrolet
19 Romain Grosjean Dallara/Honda
20 H.Castroneves Dallara/Honda
21 Colton Herta Dallara/Honda
22 Simon Pagenaud Dallara/Honda
23 David Malukas Dallara/Honda
24 Marco Andretti Dallara/Honda
25 Stefan Wilson Dallara/Chevrolet
26 D.Defrancesco Dallara/Honda
27 Agustín Canapino Dallara/Chevrolet
28 Callum Ilott Dallara/Chevrolet
29 R.C. Enerson Dallara/Chevrolet
30 Katherine Legge Dallara/Honda
31 C.Lundgaard Dallara/Honda
32 Sting Ray Robb Dallara/Honda
33 Jack Harvey Dallara/Honda
Not qualified
34 Graham Rahal Dallara/Honda

 

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