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Qualifying report

IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Herta snatches last-gasp pole for Andretti

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta will start from pole position for the IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio after a dramatic qualifying session was decided with the very last lap.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Herta lapped the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course with a best time of 1m06.3096s, and will start ahead of Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti).

Last year’s pole-winner, Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, spun out of qualifying during the opening stage and so will start at the back of the grid.

Fast Six qualifying

The Firestone Fast Six field was split on tyre strategy, with Christian Lundgaard (RLL) setting the early pace on scuffed alternates at 1m06.7805s. Herta and Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) pitted after their out laps to ditch alternates for fresh primaries, with Herta rising to second with a couple of minutes to go.

Rahal grabbed P1 on scuffed alternates with 1m06.3528s, with Palou going P2 on 1m06.4166s, just 0.0638s slower. Amazingly, Kirkwood managed to split them with 1m06.3693s, missing pole by 0.0165s.

But Herta was not to be denied, grabbing pole on his final lap with 1m06.3096s – snatching it by 0.0432s, ahead of Rahal and Kirkwood.

Palou will start fourth, ahead of Lundgaard and Scott Dixon (Ganassi).

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 5 1'06.3096     122.589
2 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 4 1'06.3528 0.0432 0.0432 122.509
3 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States Andretti Autosport 4 1'06.3693 0.0597 0.0165 122.478
4 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 5 1'06.4166 0.1070 0.0473 122.391
5 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 5 1'06.6277 0.3181 0.2111 122.003
6 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 4 1'06.9281 0.6185 0.3004 121.456

Fast 12 qualifying

In the second round of qualifying, Herta set the primary tyre pace at 1m06.8404s and was quickest on the alternates too with 1m05.8576s, ahead of Lundgaard, Rahal, Kirkwood, Dixon and Palou.

Team Penske’s Will Power missed the cut by 0.1276s and will start seventh, ahead of team-mate Scott McLaughlin, Marcus Ericsson (Ganassi), Felix Rosenqvist (the best-placed Arrow McLaren driver), Jack Harvey (Rahal) and David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing).

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 6 1'05.8576     123.430
2 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 7 1'05.8883 0.0307 0.0307 123.372
3 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 7 1'05.9336 0.0760 0.0453 123.288
4 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'05.9493 0.0917 0.0157 123.258
5 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 7 1'05.9787 0.1211 0.0294 123.203
6 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'05.9845 0.1269 0.0058 123.193
7 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 7 1'06.1121 0.2545 0.1276 122.955
8 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 7 1'06.1926 0.3350 0.0805 122.805
9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'06.2289 0.3713 0.0363 122.738
10 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren 8 1'06.2455 0.3879 0.0166 122.707
11 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 8 1'06.7309 0.8733 0.4854 121.815
12 United States David Malukas United States Dale Coyne Racing 7 1'06.7596 0.9020 0.0287 121.762

Group stage qualifying

In Group 1, Pato O’Ward set the early pace for Arrow McLaren with 1m06.9058s but spun exiting the Keyhole and stalled his engine, causing a red flag that meant he could no longer progress.

Ericsson was fastest on primaries at 1m07.0916s, and on alternates, he was also quickest at 1m05.9252s, ahead of team-mate Palou.

Missing out was Alexander Rossi (McLaren), who will start 13th on the odd side of the grid, ahead of Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden (Team Penske), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Ed Carpenter Racing), Helio Castroneves (Meyer Shank Racing), Agustin Canapino (Juncos Hollinger Racing), Benjamin Pedersen (AJ Foyt Racing) and the gutted O’Ward, who’ll start 25th.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 7 1'05.9252     123.303
2 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 7 1'06.0357 0.1105 0.1105 123.097
3 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren 8 1'06.1887 0.2635 0.1530 122.813
4 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 8 1'06.2026 0.2774 0.0139 122.787
5 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 9 1'06.2900 0.3648 0.0874 122.625
6 United States David Malukas United States Dale Coyne Racing 7 1'06.5621 0.6369 0.2721 122.124
7 United States Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren 8 1'06.6010 0.6758 0.0389 122.052
8 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 8 1'06.6307 0.7055 0.0297 121.998
9 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Ed Carpenter Racing 9 1'07.0095 1.0843 0.3788 121.308
10 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 7 1'07.0503 1.1251 0.0408 121.234
11 Argentina Agustin Canapino United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 8 1'07.0816 1.1564 0.0313 121.178
12 Denmark Benjamin Pedersen United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 9 1'07.3960 1.4708 0.3144 120.612
13 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren 4 1'11.3655 5.4403 3.9695 113.904

In Group 2, Herta set the benchmark on primaries at 1m06.2999s but team-mate Kirkwood was fastest on alternates at 1m05.7240s, ahead of Dixon.

Making no further progress were Romain Grosjean (Andretti), who will start 14th, ahead of Rinus VeeKay (ECR), Marcus Armstrong (Ganassi), Callum Ilott (Juncos), Sting Ray Robb (Coyne), Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti) and Santino Ferrucci (Foyt).

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'05.7240     123.681
2 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 7 1'05.7760 0.0520 0.0520 123.583
3 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'05.8599 0.1359 0.0839 123.426
4 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 6 1'05.8933 0.1693 0.0334 123.363
5 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 8 1'05.9838 0.2598 0.0905 123.194
6 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 6 1'06.0306 0.3066 0.0468 123.107
7 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 8 1'06.1870 0.4630 0.1564 122.816
8 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 8 1'06.2891 0.5651 0.1021 122.626
9 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'06.2915 0.5675 0.0024 122.622
10 United Kingdom Callum Ilott United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 8 1'06.3487 0.6247 0.0572 122.516
11 Ray Robb United States Dale Coyne Racing 8 1'06.5157 0.7917 0.1670 122.209
12 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'06.5834 0.8594 0.0677 122.084
13 United States Santino Ferrucci United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 8 1'07.2807 1.5567 0.6973 120.819
14 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 0        

Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud did not take part in qualifying after his horrendous crash in practice this morning. Conor Daly is on standby if IndyCar does not clear him for action tomorrow.

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