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Qualifying report
IndyCar Laguna Seca

IndyCar Laguna Seca: Rosenqvist takes pole by 0.01s in final McLaren race

Felix Rosenqvist put together a phenomenal effort to close out the IndyCar season and his Arrow McLaren tenure by claiming pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca.

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

The Swede, who is joining Meyer Shank Racing in 2024, drove “a gorilla lap” flyer of 1m06.6416s on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course to edge out Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin by 0.0097s in the Fast Six shootout.

Rosenqvist’s showing was 4.9s faster than Will Power’s pole from last year on the repaved track.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon was the only one to go out on a set of the harder primary tyres, which took several laps to build up. With just over two minutes to go in the session, the 43-year-old New Zealander delivered a 1m07.0171s lap to go quickest.

It was short-lived, though, as he was knocked off top spot by Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden, who hit a 1m06.7937s lap on the softer alternate compound.

Christian Lundgaard flexed the muscle of his #45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda throughout the entirety of qualifying, with his Fast Six best-lap coming in at 1m06.7478s to claim third on the grid.

Newgarden dropped to fourth when the dust settled, ahead of Dixon.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou, who captured his second IndyCar championship in three seasons last week in Portland, qualified sixth.

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
6 Felix Rosenqvist Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.6416   4
3 Scott McLaughlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.6513 0.0097 3
45 C.Lundgaard Dallara/Honda 1'06.7478 0.1062 4
2 Josef Newgarden Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.7937 0.1521 3
9 Scott Dixon Dallara/Honda 1'07.0171 0.3755 5
10 Alex Palou Dallara/Honda 1'07.2846 0.6430 5

Top 12 qualifying

Palou set the first competitive benchmark lap at 1m07.4701s at three minutes into the session. Lundgaard rose to first a minute later with a 1m07.2786s lap.

With four minutes remaining, Lundgaard led Newgarden, Palou, Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren), McLaughlin and Romain Grosjean (Andretti Autosport) in the transfer spots.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing rookie Juri Vips, in only his second IndyCar weekend, was on a flyer and up by nearly 0.5s halfway through the lap with less than two minutes remaining and vaulted to the top with a 1m06.8300s. It wouldn’t last long as Palou jumped to the top, but was dethroned by Lundgaard’s 1m06.4610s performance on a set of alternates.

McLaughlin sealed second, ahead of Palou. Rosenqvist ended the session fourth to advance, ahead of Dixon and Newgarden.

Vips’ quickest lap was enough to be the fastest driver to not transfer through. Although the Estonian was seventh, he will drop six starting spots for the race due to an unapproved engine change. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay, Team Penske’s Power, and Grosjean also failed to advance.

AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci was 11th in the group, but a grid penalty for an unapproved engine change ahead of qualifying will see him drop six starting spots for tomorrow’s race.

O’Ward closed out in 12th after spinning out during his late attempt.

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
45 C.Lundgaard Dallara/Honda 1'06.4610   7
3 Scott McLaughlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.5662 0.1052 8
10 Alex Palou Dallara/Honda 1'06.6158 0.1548 8
6 Felix Rosenqvist Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.7574 0.2964 8
9 Scott Dixon Dallara/Honda 1'06.7786 0.3176 7
2 Josef Newgarden Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.7824 0.3214 7
30 Jüri Vips Dallara/Honda 1'06.8300 0.3690 7
21 R.van Kalmthout Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.9172 0.4562 8
12 Will Power Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.9282 0.4672 8
10  28 Romain Grosjean Dallara/Honda 1'07.1292 0.6682 8
11  14 Santino Ferrucci Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.4479 0.9869 7
12  5 Patricio O'Ward Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.9392 1.4782 8

Group stage qualifying

In Group 1, Dixon – on a set of primary tyres – put up the first competitive lap at 1m07.6931s to go top of the group with six minutes remaining, becoming the first driver to officially break the qualifying record of 1m07.722s held by Helio Castroneves from 2000.

Rosenqvist ended up bumping Dixon down with his run of 1m07.6509s. Vips, in only his second IndyCar weekend, vaulted to first with a lap at 1m07.1305s on a set of the alternates.

Mere seconds later, a red flag came out with a minute-and-a-half remaining after Ed Carpenter Racing’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, who lost the backend coming out of Turn 11, spinning around and stalling on the frontstretch.

Upon resumption with the limited time, every driver was allowed one flying lap attempt. Dixon, switching to the softer alternates, went fastest with a 1m07.0002s lap, followed by Grosjean and then Vips. Ferrucci, Rosenqvist and VeeKay completed the top six to advance.

The first driver outside looking in was Juncos Hollinger Racing rookie Agustin Canapino, who will start 13th after a run of 1m07.4009s. Two-time Monterey winner Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport), Alexander Rossi (Arrow McLaren) and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson also missed the cut.

Rookies Tom Blomqvist (Meyer Shank Racing) and Benjamin Pedersen (AJ Foyt Racing) came up short, followed by Hunter-Reay.

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
9 Scott Dixon Dallara/Honda 1'07.0002   9
28 Romain Grosjean Dallara/Honda 1'07.0668 0.0666 9
30 Jüri Vips Dallara/Honda 1'07.1305 0.1303 9
14 Santino Ferrucci Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.1470 0.1468 9
6 Felix Rosenqvist Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.2403 0.2401 9
21 R.van Kalmthout Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.2675 0.2673 7
78 Agustín Canapino Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.4009 0.4007 9
26 Colton Herta Dallara/Honda 1'07.4666 0.4664 9
7 Alexander Rossi Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.5425 0.5423 9
10  8 Marcus Ericsson Dallara/Honda 1'07.6149 0.6147 9
11  60 Tom Blomqvist Dallara/Honda 1'07.7419 0.7417 8
12  55 B.Pedersen Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.7583 0.7581 9
13  20 Ryan Hunter-Reay Dallara/Chevrolet 1'11.0620 4.0618 6

In Group 2, Power started off the session with the engine cover off with an engine control unit issue, which delayed his chance to go out on track by one minute in the 10-minute contest.

Palou went top of the charts with a 1m07.9442s run on a set of primaries right before the red flag came out with seven minutes, 23 seconds remaining after Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing) spun off in Turn 3.

After the session resumed, Palou’s crew swapped him to alternates as he waited in the pits. Meanwhile, McLaughlin went fastest before dropping to second after Lundgaard delivered a 1m07.1921s lap to go quickest on a set of alternates. Lundgaard went even faster the following lap, hanging on to hit a new track record of 1m06.8777s.

With less than a minute to go, O’Ward knocked out a flyer at 1m06.8459s on alternates to reset the track record.

The jockeying to make the top six continued, with McLaughlin jumping to second, bumping Lundgaard to third. Newgarden made a dramatic late push to go fourth, which knocked Graham Rahal out of a shot to advance. Palou and Power ended up fifth and sixth the group.

Rahal was the best of the rest, directly ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Marcus Ericsson. Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Autosport) wound up eighth.

Callum Ilott couldn’t replicate his magical qualifying bout from last year at Laguna Seca, when he started second. The Briton’s Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet came across ninth quickest. David Malukas also missed the cut, and he will make his final start for Dale Coyne Racing with HMD in 22nd before moving to Arrow McLaren next year.

Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport) was 13th in the group, ahead of Castroneves, who will start 27th (last) in Sunday’s 95-lap race.

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
5 Patricio O'Ward Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.8459   8
3 Scott McLaughlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1'06.8761 0.0302 8
45 C.Lundgaard Dallara/Honda 1'06.8777 0.0318 7
2 Josef Newgarden Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.1254 0.2795 8
10 Alex Palou Dallara/Honda 1'07.1605 0.3146 8
12 Will Power Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.1686 0.3227 7
15 Graham Rahal Dallara/Honda 1'07.2323 0.3864 9
11 Marcus Armstrong Dallara/Honda 1'07.3726 0.5267 8
27 Kyle Kirkwood Dallara/Honda 1'07.4029 0.5570 7
10  77 Callum Ilott Dallara/Chevrolet 1'07.5183 0.6724 8
11  18 David Malukas Dallara/Honda 1'07.7816 0.9357 8
12  51 Sting Ray Robb Dallara/Honda 1'07.8639 1.0180 6
13  29 D.Defrancesco Dallara/Honda 1'07.9083 1.0624 6
14  06 H.Castroneves Dallara/Honda - - 2

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