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IndyCar Toronto

Palou, Herta and Kirkwood rue Toronto IndyCar qualifying woes

Three of the fastest IndyCar drivers on the streets of Toronto this weekend were left to rue misfortunes in qualifying that have put them out of position for Sunday’s race.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Long Beach GP winner Kyle Kirkwood, Colton Herta and points leader Alex Palou will start eighth, 14th and 15th respectively after a tricky dry-wet-dry qualifying session proved difficult to conquer.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Palou will start from his worst starting position of the season in 15th, having a previous worse of seventh for the opening races at St Petersburg and Texas.

When asked by NBC Peacock if he’d been caught out by the arrival of the rain at the end of Q1, Palou replied: “I wouldn’t say much, honestly. We just didn’t really put together everything we had.

“We had a lot more pace than that, but we couldn’t really improve on alternates, so it’s a shame that we’re going to have to start from the back, but we know we’re going to have a fast car and we can make it from there.

“As soon as you start further [down] than 10th, it’s going to be a busy race. We’re going to have that [in the race], our first one of the year, hopefully, the last one. We’ll have to work for it, for sure.”

Herta was chasing his third consecutive pole position but, after topping practice this morning, his Andretti Autosport struggled for pace in full wet conditions in his Q1 session, and he just missed the cut line by 0.0213s.

“We were definitely a lot better in the dry than we were in the wet, unfortunately,” said Herta. “We seemed to just not have the rear end, struggled with wheelspin. I just couldn’t get the laptime down to what the other guys were doing.

“If it’s a rain race, it’s good to get this bit of practice in, so maybe we can make some adjustments.”

Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Autosport Honda

Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Autosport Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Kirkwood topped his Q1 but could only manage eighth in Q2, ruing his tyre strategy and track position when he rejoined behind Rinus VeeKay’s Ed Carpenter Racing car.

“I thought our run was really good it was just unfortunate that we got stuck behind Rinus, I think everyone but he switched tyres, which was obviously a mistake,” he said. “It cost us because we just had to keep backing up behind him.

“We went a bit too early on [new] tyres when Pato [O’Ward, who was fastest in the session] was one and done. We did three or four laps on our tyres and the track was constantly evolving. We know our car is super-fast, all weekend we’ve felt our car is a couple of tenths clear, which is very rare in IndyCar racing.

“Our car was good enough for pole in the wet, it’s just our timing was a little bit off.”

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