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IndyCar Long Beach: Rosenqvist gives MSR first-ever series pole

Felix Rosenqvist continued his impressive early form to start the season with a strong surge to take pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Felix Rosenqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

The 32-year-old Swede saved his best for last after pushing to a quick lap of 1m06.0172s around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit, giving Meyer Shank Racing its first-ever pole in the IndyCar Series. It is the sixth pole of Rosenqvist’s career.

Rosenqvist managed to capture the top spot by a narrow 0.0039 of a second over Team Penske’s Will Power, who overcame two incidents earlier in the day during second practice to qualify second.

 

Fast Six qualifying

The fight began after Power set the benchmark of 1m06.3993s before pitting for a second set of used softer alternate tyres with three minutes left.

Marcus Ericsson was tracking toward the top spot before losing all the time in the final corner, ending up second after a 1m06.4039s lap with less than two minutes to go.

The final minute saw Newgarden jump to the top with a stout 1m06.1059s. However, Rosenqvist was able to deliver a 1m06.0172s lap to move to first.

As time expired, Power made a late push but fell just shy at just 0.0039 of a second to secure the front-row spot alongside Rosenqvist.

When told of how much he missed it from the timing stand, Power replied over the radio: "Story of my life lately."

Newgarden’s attempt to also take get back provisional pole spot drifted away with a slight in Turn 8, hitting 0.0887s behind to take third.

Andretti Global’s pairing of Colton Herta and Ericsson ended up fourth and fifth, respectively.

Reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou put his No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda sixth.

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 4

1'06.0172

  107.317
2 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 5

+0.0039

1'06.0211

0.0039 107.311
3 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 5

+0.0887

1'06.1059

0.0848 107.173
4 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 4

+0.3612

1'06.3784

0.2725 106.734
5 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 3

+0.3867

1'06.4039

0.0255 106.693
6 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 5

+0.5272

1'06.5444

0.1405 106.467

Top 12 qualifying

The initial pace was set on the harder primary compound, with Newgarden leading the charge with a 1m06.8155s lap in the opening three minutes.

Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood returned getting bumped earlier by dethroning Newgarden with a 1m06.6839s lap, but then he was knocked down by Herta with a 1m06.4677s flyer at the halfway mark of the 10-minute segment.

Newgarden pitted for the softer alternates switch and was immediately sent out with a clear track with four minutes to go.

The rest of the field followed shortly after, but Newgarden struck first with a 1m06.2014s lap. It was a mere seconds later, though, that Ericsson was able to jolt forward to first with a 1m06.0546s flyer.

It was Palou who was able to find the first sub-66s lap of the weekend after putting together a 1m05.9103s lap in the final minute to set the mark for the segment.

 

Herta returned to second at just 0.0961s behind Palou to give Honda a 1-2 in the Top 12. The final moments saw Newgarden claim third, ahead of Ericsson and Rosenqvist.

The last transfer spot into the Fast Six went to Power, who was a slim 0.0193 of a second ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard.

Six-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon made a late lunge at the Turn 11 hairpin to try and make up time, but the last-gasp effort failed to pay off as he ended up eighth.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong was able to secure ninth, ahead of defending race winner Kirkwood. Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, who was one of the stronger performers in both practice sessions, fell to 11th.

"We just didn't quite hit it on that run, it's a bummer," McLaughlin said.

The No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda of Graham Rahal snagged the final spot of the Top 12.

Group Stage qualifying

In Group 1, Power hit a 1m07.2883s lap on the harder primary tyres to lead running with less than five minutes to go, 0.0073s ahead of Rosenqvist.

The group filed into the pits to switch to the softer alternates and return for a late change to advance.

Two-time Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi jumped to the top with a minute to go with a 1m06.8349s lap but was quickly dethroned by Rosenqvist’s flyer at 1m06.4019s and then went even quicker the next lap with a 1m06.3372s performance.

Herta jumped to second at 0.1873s lap, ahead of Dixon at 0.2569s.

Power, Palou and Rahal also managed to advance out of the first group. Rossi narrowly missed the cut, with his No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet off by 0.0439s. He qualified best of the rest in 13th.

Rookies Tom Blomqvist (Meyer Shank Racing) and Linus Lundqvist (Chip Ganassi Racing) locked up the next two spots behind Rossi.

Pietro Fittipaldi was 10th in the group in the No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, establishing him 19th for the race.

Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Christian Rasmussen, Dale Coyne Racing’s Jack Harvey and AJ Foyt Racing’s Sting Ray Robb also failed to advance and settled into the final three positions of the group. The trio will start 21st, 23rd, and 25th, respectively. 

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 7

1'06.3372

  106.800
2 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 8

+0.1873

1'06.5245

0.1873 106.499
3 New Zealand S. Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 8

+0.2569

1'06.5941

0.0696 106.388
4 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 8

+0.3016

1'06.6388

0.0447 106.316
5 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 8

+0.3871

1'06.7243

0.0855 106.180
6 United States G. Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 8

+0.4538

1'06.7910

0.0667 106.074
7 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 8

+0.4977

1'06.8349

0.0439 106.004
8 United Kingdom T. Blomqvist Meyer Shank Racing 66 7

+0.6953

1'07.0325

0.1976 105.692
9 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 8

+0.7650

1'07.1022

0.0697 105.582
10 Brazil P. Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 8

+0.7912

1'07.1284

0.0262 105.541
11
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 8

+0.9960

1'07.3332

0.2048 105.220
12 United Kingdom J. Harvey Dale Coyne Racing 18 7

+1.3493

1'07.6865

0.3533 104.671
13
R. Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises
41 8

+3.2478

1'09.5850

1.8985 101.815

In Group 2, Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward opened up the pace on a set of alternates with a 1m07.2748s run. Shortly thereafter, though, the rotation began as McLaughlin temporarily held the top spot.

Kirkwood, on a set of the harder primary tyres, hit a 1m07.0110s lap to vault to first with six minutes to go. McLaughlin then fired back with a lap of 1m06.8211s to return back to the top of the timesheets.

With less than two minutes to go, Armstrong jumped to first with a 1m06.6821s flying lap.

The top spot rotated five times in the final minute as Ericsson, then Grosjean, then McLaughlin, then Kirkwood went top before Armstrong returned with a 1m06.1509s lap.

Ericsson was able to secure second at just 0.0259s behind the 2023 IndyCar Rookie of the Year. Kirkwood also ended up close at just 0.0776s in third, ahead of McLaughlin, Lundgaard and Newgarden.

The first driver to not advance was O’Ward, who missed the cut by 0.0449s.

"I wasn't unhappy with it,” O’Ward said. “We were just slow. I think we missed the window a little bit, just not fast enough."

 

Directly behind O’Ward was the Juncos Hollinger Racing duo of Romain Grosjean and Agustin Canapino. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay was 10th in the group, lining him up 20th for Sunday’s race.

Theo Pourchaire, making his IndyCar debut with Arrow McLaren substituting for the injured David Malukas, put in a respectable pace of 1m06.9722s, but was only good enough for 11th in the group. The Frenchman will start 22nd.

Santino Ferrucci (AJ Foyt Racing) was 13th in the group running, ahead of rookie Kyffin Simpson (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Nolan Siegel (Dale Coyne Racing).

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 8

1'06.1509

  107.101
2 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 8

+0.0259

1'06.1768

0.0259 107.059
3 United States K. Kirkwood Andretti Global 27 8

+0.0776

1'06.2285

0.0517 106.975
4 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 8

+0.1277

1'06.2786

0.0501 106.894
5 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 7

+0.2078

1'06.3587

0.0801 106.765
6 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 8

+0.2614

1'06.4123

0.0536 106.679
7 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 8

+0.3063

1'06.4572

0.0449 106.607
8 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 8

+0.3197

1'06.4706

0.0134 106.585
9 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 7

+0.5906

1'06.7415

0.2709 106.153
10 Argentina A. Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 78 8

+0.6972

1'06.8481

0.1066 105.984
11 France T. Pourchaire Arrow McLaren 6 7

+0.8213

1'06.9722

0.1241 105.787
12 United States S. Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 7

+1.0342

1'07.1851

0.2129 105.452
13 United States K. Simpson Chip Ganassi Racing 4 8

+1.1616

1'07.3125

0.1274 105.252
14
N. Siegel Dale Coyne Racing
51 7

+1.4339

1'07.5848

0.2723 104.828

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