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Qualifying report
IndyCar Mid-Ohio

IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Palou takes pole by 0.002s for first-ever hybrid race

Honda shades Chevrolet on qualifying debut for IndyCar's new hybrid engine as Alex Palou shades Pato O’Ward at Mid-Ohio

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, NTT P1 Award, Pole, celebration

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou pipped Arrow McLaren rival Pato O’Ward to pole for the first race of IndyCar's hybrid era at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The reigning series champion pounded the freshly repaved 2.258-mile road course in 1m05.3511s to edge out O'Ward by 0.0024s.

“It was huge,” Palou said. “I knew we had a really fast car.

“We knew we were racing with a disadvantage to the #5 from the tyres because of the [extra] lap in the Fast 12, but we didn’t want to risk it. It was nice two weeks ago [winning the pole at Laguna Seca] and we wanted to repeat.”

The only Chevrolet driver to make the Fast Six, O’Wardwill line up second ahead of David Malukas on just his second outing with Meyer Shank Racing, having missed the start of the season through injury. 

Malukas, who was due to race for Arrow McLaren in 2024 but lost his drive without ever racing for the team, was 0.2998s behind the mark set by Palou as he continues to adapt to a car driven by Tom Blomqvist in the early portion of the season.  

David Malukas, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

David Malukas, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Andretti Global’s Colton Herta finished up fourth, with Ganassi's Marcus Armstrong fifth and Marcus Ericsson sixth for Andretti Global.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Fast Six times

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 5

1'05.3511

  124.387
2 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 5

+0.0024

1'05.3535

0.0024 124.382
3 United States D. Malukas Meyer Shank Racing 66 5

+0.2998

1'05.6509

0.2974 123.819
4 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 4

+0.4142

1'05.7653

0.1144 123.603
5 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 3

+0.5891

1'05.9402

0.1749 123.275
6 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 3

+0.6081

1'05.9592

0.0190 123.240

Although O’Ward led the opening half of the Fast 12 segment, Palou set the quickest time at 1m05.2848s.

O’Ward secured second at 0.0760s behind, with Herta and Malukas in third and fourth.  

Fifth went to Armstrong, with Ericsson snatching the final transfer spot in sixth.

Scott McLaughlin fell 0.0234s short in the fastest Team Penske entry and will start seventh, ahead of Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi and Ed Carpenter Racing’s impressive rookie Christian Rasmussen in ninth.

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Days after he was announced as Rossi's replacement at Arrow McLaren for 2025, Christian Lundgaard put his Honda-powered Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing machine 10th, ahead of Ganassi rookie Linus Lundqvist in 11th.

Romain Grosjean secured the final spot and his Juncos Hollinger Racing entry will start 12th.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Top-12 times

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 8

1'05.2848

  124.513
2 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 6

+0.0760

1'05.3608

0.0760 124.368
3 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 7

+0.2193

1'05.5041

0.1433 124.096
4 United States D. Malukas Meyer Shank Racing 66 7

+0.2225

1'05.5073

0.0032 124.090
5 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 8

+0.2677

1'05.5525

0.0452 124.004
6 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 8

+0.3096

1'05.5944

0.0419 123.925
7 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 8

+0.3330

1'05.6178

0.0234 123.881
8 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 7

+0.3579

1'05.6427

0.0249 123.834
9
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 8

+0.4063

1'05.6911

0.0484 123.743
10 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 9

+0.4857

1'05.7705

0.0794 123.593
11 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 8

+0.4957

1'05.7805

0.0100 123.575
12 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 5

+0.4974

1'05.7822

0.0017 123.571

In Group 1, Palou nailed a 1m05.4915s lap in the final minute to secure the top spot, edging out Malukas by 0.0417s.

Rossi secured third ahead of McLaughlin, who led before the group swapped from the harder primary compound to the alternates. Rasmussen made a late push into fifth, ahead of Ericsson in sixth.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist was the first driver on the outside of the transfer spot in seventh, with Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood eighth and missing the cut by 0.0226s from sixth.

Toby Sowery, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Toby Sowery, Dale Coyne Racing Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Graham Rahal dropped wheels briefly off course and missed the chance to transfer, finishing tenth behind Arrow McLaren's Nolan Siegel.

IndyCar debutant Toby Sowery only managed to log one lap after his Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing entry underwent some minor work from his crew in the early part of the session, which meant the Briton brought up the rear.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Group 1 times

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 8

1'05.4915

  124.120
2 United States D. Malukas Meyer Shank Racing 66 7

+0.0417

1'05.5332

0.0417 124.041
3 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 8

+0.0631

1'05.5546

0.0214 124.000
4 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 8

+0.1362

1'05.6277

0.0731 123.862
5
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 8

+0.1459

1'05.6374

0.0097 123.844
6 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 8

+0.1788

1'05.6703

0.0329 123.782
7 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 7

+0.2006

1'05.6921

0.0218 123.741
8 United States K. Kirkwood Andretti Global 27 8

+0.2232

1'05.7147

0.0226 123.698
9
N. Siegel Arrow McLaren
6 8

+0.2764

1'05.7679

0.0532 123.598
10 United States G. Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 8

+0.3593

1'05.8508

0.0829 123.443
11 United States S. Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 8

+0.4499

1'05.9414

0.0906 123.273
12 Brazil P. Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 7

+0.6058

1'06.0973

0.1559 122.982
13 United Kingdom T. Sowery Dale Coyne Racing 51 1

+2.7584

1'08.2499

2.1526 119.103

In Group 2, Armstrong led the way and gave CGR a sweep of the groups after nailing a quick lap of 1m05.5044s.

Herta came across the finish line second, 0.1504s behind the Kiwi, with Lundgaard collecting third.

O’Ward delivered a strong last-gasp effort to vault from below the cut line to fourth, just ahead of Lundvist and Grosjean.

Big names who were knocked out included six-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon, who slotted seventh at just 0.0449s from transferring in his Ganassi machine.

“I should have gone harder on my first push lap,” Dixon said. “I tried and pushed a little too hard on the second.

“We were under by about two-tenths, which would have got us through. Went a little too deep into (Turn) 4 and lost out by one or two tenths.”

Team Penske’s Will Power also ended up missing the cut and finished eighth. Rinus VeeKay put his Ed Carpenter Racing machine ninth, ahead of Grosjean’s team-mate Agustin Canapino 10th.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden’s disappointing run to 12th means he will start 18th on the grid.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Group 2 times

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

1'05.5044

  124.095
2 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 8

+0.1501

1'05.6545

0.1501 123.812
3 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 8

+0.2440

1'05.7484

0.0939 123.635
4 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 8

+0.2818

1'05.7862

0.0378 123.564
5 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 8

+0.2959

1'05.8003

0.0141 123.537
6 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 8

+0.3069

1'05.8113

0.0110 123.517
7 New Zealand S. Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 8

+0.3518

1'05.8562

0.0449 123.433
8 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 8

+0.4610

1'05.9654

0.1092 123.228
9 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 8

+0.4813

1'05.9857

0.0203 123.190
10 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 8

+0.5208

1'06.0252

0.0395 123.117
11 Argentina A. Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 78 8

+0.5506

1'06.0550

0.0298 123.061
12 United States K. Simpson Chip Ganassi Racing 4 8

+0.5990

1'06.1034

0.0484 122.971
13
R. Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises
41 8

+1.1850

1'06.6894

0.5860 121.890
14 United Kingdom J. Harvey Dale Coyne Racing 18 8

+1.4570

1'06.9614

0.2720 121.395

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