Indycar: Alex Palou wants to continue his express trajectory during the Indianapolis 500 Miles

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At only 26 years old, Alex Palou has already almost succeeded in IndyCar, champion in 2021, and author of the leading position in the 500 Miles. Sunday, he will aim for nothing other than a first coronation on the mythical oval of Indianapolis.

At the wheel of his Chip Ganassi, the Spaniard will try to become the 73rd winner of the event, the 107th edition of which will take place under the eyes of some 300,000 fans.

He will be the logical favourite, having set the fastest time in history during qualifying last weekend. During the last four laps, during the “Fast 6” aimed at allocating the first six places on the grid, the Catalan reached an unprecedented average speed of 234.217 miles per hour or 376.936 km/h.

A record that allows the American team Chip Ganassi to grab the top position for the third consecutive year, since Scott Dixon had achieved it in 2021 and 2022. The 42-year-old New Zealand veteran, winner in 2008 and teammate of the ‘Spanish, will start him in sixth position, outside the second line.

Palou, who will start with Dutchman Rinus Veekay (Ed Carpenter Racing) and Swedish Felix Rosenqvist (Arrow McLaren) on the front row, knows he is expected. « I just hope they don’t get too crazy with whoever’s leading, » he said, smiling, of his opponents.

The Spaniard, who established himself as one of his best elements upon his arrival in IndyCar and whose talent is such that he became a reserve driver for the F1 McLaren team, alongside Mick Shumacher in particular , can achieve the “May triple” (winner of the Indianapolis Grand Prix, leading position then crowning the 500 miles). Only one other succeeded, the Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, in 2019.

Nine former winners, four rookies

According to him, starting on pole is an advantage for weaving through traffic. “I think it’s quite difficult when you’re fourth, fifth or even behind. And much easier when you are first or second. »

But this advantage also has the disadvantage of offering a lot of suction to the following car: « It’s too easy now to go from second to first place, which was not the case for the last two years » .

Besides the Catalan, many credible contenders are already revving their engines, including former winners who dream of lifting the Borg-Warner trophy again.

Five of them will start in the first ten positions. In addition to Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi), IndyCar legend with his six championship titles, there is the American Alexander Rossi (Arrow McLaren), winner-rookie in 2016, the Japanese Takuma Sato (Chip Ganassi), who triumphed in 2017 and 2020, Brazilian Tony Kanaan (Arrow McLaren), winner in 2013, and Swedish Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi), defending champion.

In total, nine former winners have qualified. This is particularly the case of Helio Castroneves, quadruple winner (2001, 2002, 2009, 2021). He is the only active driver to be able to achieve a fifth success, which would constitute a record unequaled in the history of the Indianapolis 500 miles.

The Brazilian from the Meyer Shank Racing team, who has not missed a single one of the last 22 editions, will start in 20th position, just behind Romain Grosjean (Andretti). The other Frenchman Simon Pagenaud will start 22nd.

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