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Qualifying report
IndyCar Road America

IndyCar Road America: Herta takes last-gasp pole for Andretti

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta will start from pole position for the IndyCar Series race at Road America after a dramatic qualifying session that was only decided in the closing seconds.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

On the recently-repaved 4.048-mile road course, Dario Franchitti’s qualifying track record of 1m39.866s remained out of reach despite the new high-grip surface. The Fast Six shootout was an intriguing battle, with most cars running the harder primary tyres but Arrow McLaren’s practice pacesetter Alexander Rossi gambled on the softer alternates.

O’Ward set the early pace with 1m41.9957s on primaries, which Rossi beat with 1m41.4587s on his alternates.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou then jumped to P1 on primaries at 1m40.7065s, ahead of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Herta on the same compound. O’Ward grabbed provisional pole with 1m40.3643s, despite a scruffy end to his lap, but Herta beat that with 1m40.1945s to ensure the top spot for Sunday’s race.

Palou will start third in his hastily-rebuilt car after a hefty practice crash this morning, ahead of Newgarden, who spun at Turn 3 on his final lap.

Rossi was fifth, almost a second off the pace, ahead of Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood – who didn’t take part in the final session after his car expired earlier.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 4 1'40.1945     144.223
2 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren 4 1'40.3643 0.1698 0.1698 143.979
3 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 4 1'40.4930 0.2985 0.1287 143.795
4 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 5 1'40.9530 0.7585 0.4600 143.140
5 United States Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren 5 1'41.1854 0.9909 0.2324 142.811
6 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States Andretti Autosport 0        

Fast 12 qualifying

In the second round of qualifying, Christian Lundgaard(Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) set the pace early on with 1m41.0480s on primaries, three-tenths up on Rossi, but Palou beat him with 1m40.9914s.

Times tumbled in the closing moments, with Palou taking P1 on primaries with 1m40.5572s, before Herta – who had earlier suffered a huge high-speed spin at Turn 1 on primaries – produced a last-gasp 1m40.5476s on alternates.

Kirkwood was third on primaries – before pulling off with a smoking engine – ahead of alternate runners O’Ward, Newgarden and Rossi.

Lundgaard will start seventh, after failing to improve on alternates, ahead of Ganassi’s Marcus Armstrong and Ericsson, AJ Foyt Racing duo Benjamin Pedersen and Santino Ferrucci, and Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti).

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 6 1'40.5476     143.717
2 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 6 1'40.5572 0.0096 0.0096 143.703
3 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States Andretti Autosport 6 1'40.9322 0.3846 0.3750 143.169
4 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren 6 1'40.9393 0.3917 0.0071 143.159
5 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 7 1'40.9716 0.4240 0.0323 143.114
6 United States Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren 6 1'40.9948 0.4472 0.0232 143.081
7 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 6 1'41.0480 0.5004 0.0532 143.005
8 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong United States Chip Ganassi Racing 7 1'41.1737 0.6261 0.1257 142.828
9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 6 1'41.2202 0.6726 0.0465 142.762
10 Denmark Benjamin Pedersen United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 6 1'41.4989 0.9513 0.2787 142.370
11 United States Santino Ferrucci United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 6 1'41.6314 1.0838 0.1325 142.184
12 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 5 1'41.8277 1.2801 0.1963 141.910

Group stage qualifying

In Group 1, Herta set 1m40.7555s on primaries and then beat that with 1m40.5881s on alternates. Pedersen was second fastest, ahead of DeFrancesco, Newgarden, Kirkwood and Ferrucci.

David Malukas, who’d been rapid in practice for Dale Coyne Racing, just missed out on progression by 0.0481s. He will start 13th, and outpaced Rinus VeeKay(Ed Carpenter Racing), Callum Ilott(Juncos Hollinger Racing), Romain Grosjean – who went off twice in his Andretti Autosport car, including a big flight over the curb on the exit of Turn 1, and declared “the car is broken” – Agustin Canapino (JHR), Scott Dixon (CGR) and Sting Ray Robb (DCR).

Ganassi built up a new chassis for Dixon, after his tub was found to be dented following the bizarre collision with Team Penske’s Will Power in practice this morning, but he struggled for pace and spun off at Turn 3. “The brake bias was at a really odd number, steering was off, it was just a bit of a mismatch,” he rued.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 6 1'40.5881     143.659
2 Denmark Benjamin Pedersen United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 6 1'41.2255 0.6374 0.6374 142.755
3 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 6 1'41.2443 0.6562 0.0188 142.728
4 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 7 1'41.3132 0.7251 0.0689 142.631
5 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States Andretti Autosport 5 1'41.4400 0.8519 0.1268 142.453
6 United States Santino Ferrucci United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 6 1'41.4723 0.8842 0.0323 142.407
7 United States David Malukas United States Dale Coyne Racing 7 1'41.5204 0.9323 0.0481 142.340
8 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 6 1'41.7420 1.1539 0.2216 142.030
9 United Kingdom Callum Ilott United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 6 1'41.8005 1.2124 0.0585 141.948
10 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 7 1'41.8529 1.2648 0.0524 141.875
11 Argentina Agustin Canapino United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 6 1'41.9247 1.3366 0.0718 141.775
12 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 7 1'42.2745 1.6864 0.3498 141.290
13 Ray Robb United States Dale Coyne Racing 6 1'42.6862 2.0981 0.4117 140.724

In Group 2, Lundgaard set the pace on primaries at 1m41.0125s, as practice pacesetter Rossi – who was second fastest after the first runs – got a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. O’Ward set 1m40.9158s to top the session just before Ryan Hunter-Reay slammed the wall at the final corner, bringing out a red flag with 11s remaining.

The session resumed for a lap but nobody could improve their times, so Lundgaard was second quickest, ahead of Armstrong, a fortunate Rossi, Ericsson and Palou.

Missing out were Graham Rahal (RLL), Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren), Scott McLaughlin (Penske), Simon Pagenaud(Meyer Shank Racing), a livid Will Power (Penske) – who had a huge moment on the exit of the Carousel in his rebuilt car and is still angry with Dixon – Jack Harvey (RLL), Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves (MSR).

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren 6 1'40.9158     143.193
2 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 7 1'41.0125 0.0967 0.0967 143.056
3 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'41.0682 0.1524 0.0557 142.977
4 United States Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 1'41.1788 0.2630 0.1106 142.820
5 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'41.2830 0.3672 0.1042 142.673
6 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 8 1'41.2868 0.3710 0.0038 142.668
7 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 8 1'41.5121 0.5963 0.2253 142.352
8 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren 8 1'41.5823 0.6665 0.0702 142.253
9 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 7 1'41.7005 0.7847 0.1182 142.088
10 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 8 1'41.7257 0.8099 0.0252 142.053
11 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 7 1'41.9275 1.0117 0.2018 141.771
12 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 7 1'41.9329 1.0171 0.0054 141.764
13 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 7 1'42.0399 1.1241 0.1070 141.615
14 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Ed Carpenter Racing 5 1'44.1738 3.2580 2.1339 138.714

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