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IndyCar Road America: Rossi quickest in first practice for McLaren

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi set the fastest time in opening practice as the IndyCar Series got its first taste of the recently-resurfaced Road America on Friday afternoon.

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Rossi topped the 75-minute session around the fabled 4.048-mile road course with a best lap of 1m41.779s, with times massively faster than last year’s pace thanks to the track’s first full resurface which took place last October and November, since 1995.

It also meant that tyre squeal from the natural understeer characteristics of the Dallaras was audible over the sound of their engines in several of its long-radius corners.

Alex Zanardi’s all-time fastest race lap of 1m41.874s was dipped under after half an hour of running by David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing) with 1m41.865s.

Rossi beat that with 1m41.779s for the fastest time on primaries, as teams then switched to the softer alternates with a dozen minutes remaining. Both of the top two drivers took part in the test here last week.

The anticipated improvements on red tyres didn’t materialise, however, with Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) the fastest on those, lapping in 1m41.948s for third, just ahead of team-mate Scott Dixon, who produce a late 1m41.954s.

McLaren’s Pato O’Ward was fifth fastest, ahead of Marcus Ericsson (Ganassi), Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren), Colton Herta (Andretti Autoport), Marcus Armstrong (CGR) and Graham Rahal (RLL).

David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda

David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

“It’s super-smooth, like a dancefloor out there but grippy,” reported Rosenqvist of the new surface. “We weren’t happy with the reds, so the hards could be pretty strong here because it’s so grippy and it’s a long lap.”

Scott McLaughin was the fastest Penske driver down in 15th, just ahead of team-mates Josef Newgarden and Will Power.

Santino Ferrucci had a big spin at Canada Corner and quipped over the radio: “I think we can say the car is a bit nosey.”

Series returnee Ryan Hunter-Reay was 22nd for Ed Carpenter Racing, 1.35s off the pace but ahead of five drivers in his first road course IndyCar session for over 18 months.

Dario Franchitti’s qualifying track record of 1m39.866s will be tested in qualifying tomorrow at 12:55pm local time.

IndyCar Road America - FP1 results

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval Mph
1 United States Alexander Rossi Arrow McLaren 14 1'41.7790     141.978
2 United States David Malukas United States Dale Coyne Racing 16 1'41.8652 0.0862 0.0862 141.858
3 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 16 1'41.9486 0.1696 0.0834 141.742
4 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 18 1'41.9544 0.1754 0.0058 141.734
5 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren 15 1'41.9778 0.1988 0.0234 141.701
6 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 14 1'42.0426 0.2636 0.0648 141.611
7 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 18 1'42.0534 0.2744 0.0108 141.596
8 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren 15 1'42.0633 0.2843 0.0099 141.583
9 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 13 1'42.0789 0.2999 0.0156 141.561
10 New Zealand Marcus Armstrong United States Chip Ganassi Racing 21 1'42.2146 0.4356 0.1357 141.373
11 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 17 1'42.3731 0.5941 0.1585 141.154
12 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 14 1'42.4372 0.6582 0.0641 141.066
13 United States Santino Ferrucci United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 17 1'42.4680 0.6890 0.0308 141.024
14 Ray Robb United States Dale Coyne Racing 22 1'42.5097 0.7307 0.0417 140.966
15 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 14 1'42.5799 0.8009 0.0702 140.870
16 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 12 1'42.6013 0.8223 0.0214 140.840
17 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 15 1'42.7382 0.9592 0.1369 140.653
18 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 15 1'42.8418 1.0628 0.1036 140.511
19 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States Andretti Autosport 13 1'42.8773 1.0983 0.0355 140.462
20 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 18 1'43.0304 1.2514 0.1531 140.254
21 Argentina Agustin Canapino United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 17 1'43.0679 1.2889 0.0375 140.203
22 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Ed Carpenter Racing 17 1'43.1368 1.3578 0.0689 140.109
23 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 18 1'43.1707 1.3917 0.0339 140.063
24 Denmark Benjamin Pedersen United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 24 1'43.2036 1.4246 0.0329 140.018
25 United Kingdom Callum Ilott United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 14 1'43.2368 1.4578 0.0332 139.973
26 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 17 1'43.3655 1.5865 0.1287 139.799
27 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 15 1'43.4092 1.6302 0.0437 139.740

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