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IndyCar Indy 500

Indy 500: Ericsson fastest in Sunday practice at over 235mph

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson set a fastest lap of 235.692mph in the final practice session before Fast 12 qualifying for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

The defending Indy 500 race-winner lapped the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in 38.1854s to set the fastest practice time of the week in the final running before qualifying resumes.

AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci set the early pace at 234.972mph straight out of the box, in perfect weather conditions and much lighter winds than yesterday.

Ferrucci went on to set a four-lap average of 234.649mph to put himself into the mix for pole position later and said: “I think we’ve got what it takes, that’s clear.”

Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) beat his single-lap speed with 235.609mph, although he was running within 10s of team-mate Takuma Sato further along track. However, his four-lap run was slower than Ferrucci by almost 0.2mph.

“A big tow,” Palou admitted. “The car was really, really consistent in terms of balance, but I made a big mistake into Turn 3 on my last lap.”

Palou was then toppled by another team-mate Ericsson, who recorded a 235.692mph with the benefit of a slipstream. Sato was third fastest at 235.121mph, but trimmed his car too much on downforce and couldn’t stay flat on the throttle on his final lap.

“The car is really good, it’s really fast, but I’m struggling to finish off the runs,” Ericsson also admitted. “I had to bail at Turn 1 on my last lap, so I just need to work on that.”

Benjamin Pedersen, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

Benjamin Pedersen, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

The fastest no-tow lap was recorded by Foyt’s rookie Benjamin Pedersen at 235.793mph, ahead of Scott Dixon’s 234.958mph (who aborted his four-lap run), which was good for fourth overall.

“I didn’t realise it was that fast, holy cow!” exclaimed Pedersen. “The thing is a rocketship, I’m pretty speechless.”

Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward was only seventh fastest with 234.826mph but placed third behind Ferrucci and Palou on the four-lap average chart at 234.190mph.

“It was good, we had a bit too much understeer,” said O’Ward. “The track’s really fast today with less wind. We’re a little shy on front wing, but it was a good read.”

Rinus VeeKay hit trouble when smoke and sparks flew from the back of his Chevrolet-powered Ed Carpenter Racing car, causing a yellow after 12 minutes of running. He stopped out on track and his team will now scramble to ready the car in time for qualifying in a couple of hours’ time after it was towed in.

“I was working the fourth lap and the car was good,” he said. “It just made a bit of noise and slowed down. It’s not ideal. But the car is definitely fast.”

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VeeKay was eighth quickest, ahead of McLaren’s Alexander Rossi, Penske’s Will Power and Saturday pacesetter Felix Rosenqvist. The fourth McLaren entry of Tony Kanaan elected not to run.

Fast 12 qualifying for the Indy 500 starts at 2pm local time.

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