Portland IndyCar: Palou tops practice as Ilott debuts

IndyCar Series title contender Alex Palou set the fastest lap of the 75-minute practice session at Portland, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver heading Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Portland IndyCar: Palou tops practice as Ilott debuts

Despite an off at the final corner that brought out one of three red flags mid-session, Spanish sophomore Palou headed the field with a 58.782s lap on the red-walled soft compound Firestone tyres to go 0.102s faster than Castroneves.

The Brazilian veteran, making only his fourth appearance of the season for Meyer Shank Racing ahead of his full-time return to the series next year with MSR, narrowly pipped outgoing team-mate Jack Harvey by 0.004s in the only track time before qualifying later today.

Championship leader Patricio O'Ward took fourth for Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet, 0.110s down on Palou's effort, while double series champion Josef Newgarden was the best of the Penske contingent in fifth.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean was the best rookie in sixth with his Dale Coyne Racing with RWR machine, pipping 2019 Portland winner Will Power who set his fastest time on the hard compound primary tyres to go seventh fastest.

The Andretti Autosport team-mates Alexander Rossi and Colton Herta and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal completed the top 10, easing reigning champion Scott Dixon (Ganassi) down to P11.

Team Penske rookie Scott McLaughlin suffered an off at the final corner late in the session that brought out the red flag but he finished the session 12th, while Max Chilton of Carlin was the other driver who halted the session with a spin-and-stall.

Callum Ilott, Juncos Racing

Callum Ilott, Juncos Racing

Photo by: James Black

Making his first start for the RLL team, taking over the team's third car most recently driven on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course by Formula 2 regular Christian Lundgaard, 2019 Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew set the 16th fastest time.

RLL team-mate Takuma Sato suffered a problem with his Honda engine on his third lap, which prevented the two-time Indy 500 winner from setting a representative lap.

NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson was a very impressive 20th fastest on his first visit to Portland, finishing just 0.673s from team-mate Palou's benchmark time, outpacing IndyCar debutant Callum Ilott.

The Ferrari F1 test driver finished 24th as his Juncos Hollinger team returned to IndyCar competition for the first time since the 2019 Indy 500.

Ilott's best effort was 1.135s from Palou's pace, but the Briton didn’t set a time on the Firestone 'red' compound.

Practice resumes following qualifying with an additional 90-minute session.

IndyCar Portland Practice 1 Result 

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Mph
1 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 33 58.782   120.281
2 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 32 58.885 0.102 120.071
3 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 27 58.888 0.106 120.064
4 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 33 58.893 0.110 120.054
5 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 34 58.894 0.112 120.052
6 France Romain Grosjean United States Dale Coyne Racing 37 58.905 0.123 120.030
7 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 33 58.919 0.137 120.000
8 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 32 58.932 0.150 119.975
9 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 33 58.947 0.164 119.944
10 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 32 58.991 0.209 119.855
11 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 33 59.008 0.225 119.820
12 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 31 59.066 0.284 119.702
13 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 31 59.109 0.327 119.615
14 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 32 59.118 0.335 119.598
15 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 29 59.291 0.508 119.249
16 United States Oliver Askew United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 33 59.298 0.515 119.235
17 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 34 59.309 0.527 119.212
18 Canada James Hinchcliffe United States Andretti Autosport 25 59.312 0.530 119.206
19 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones United States Dale Coyne Racing 31 59.338 0.555 119.154
20 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 36 59.455 0.673 118.919
21 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 32 59.536 0.754 118.757
22 United Kingdom Max Chilton United Kingdom Carlin 33 59.584 0.801 118.662
23 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 33 59.680 0.898 118.471
24 United Kingdom Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing 35 59.917 1.135 118.002
25 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 42 1'00.198 1.416 117.451
26 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 11 1'00.269 1.487 117.312
27 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 3 1'22.252 23.469 85.960
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