DETROIT | The Swede Marcus Ericsson won the first race of the IndyCar Grand Prix in Detroit on Saturday, marked by the violent accident of his compatriot Felix Rosenqvist, who escaped unscathed when his car violently hit a concrete block head-on.
30-year-old Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Formula 1 driver from 2014 to 2018, won his first victory in Indycar, on the same road circuit in Detroit where he had obtained his best result so far, a 2nd place in 2019.
A twist of fate allowed him to win, when 40-year-old Australian veteran Will Power (Penske), in the lead and well on his way to winning, was unable to restart his car after the last interruption of the race by a red flag, five laps from the finish.
It was following another accident, without seriousness, of the French Romain Grosjean, who begins this season in Indycar.
Ericsson resisted the Dutchman Rinus Veekay (Ed Carpenter Racing), second, and the Mexican Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren), third, who made a good operation in the championship since he took the provisional 2nd place in the Néo -Zeeland Scott Dixon.
Much more than its epilogue and twisty storyline, it was the fear caused by Rosenqvist’s crash on lap 25 that struck everyone’s mind. Coming out of a right turn, the 29-year-old driver smashed his car into the concrete block in front and was likely saved by the wall of stacked against tires.
Rosenqvist « aware and alert »
After long minutes, while the race was logically interrupted three laps later by a red flag, he could be extracted with the greatest caution from his car and placed on a stretcher, well aware, a neck brace surrounding his neck.
Taken to the hospital, his first examinations were reassuring: “He is doing well. He is conscious and alert. He never lost consciousness, he spoke all the time. He was sore but he didn’t lose any feeling anywhere, ”IndyCar Medical Services Director Geoffrey Billows said.
About an hour after this terrible accident, the race was able to resume once the hilly area had been cleaned and the protective wall brought back into conformity. Scott Dixon then led the proceedings but, like a dozen other competitors, he had to refuel immediately, which allowed Will Power to take the lead until his retirement.
On the French side, Simon Pagenaud can also have regrets: sixth with five laps to go, he became fifth taking advantage of Power’s misfortunes but he then lost a fierce battle, in the last laps, with Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci.
The cars touched each other and his lost speed, then doubled by others to finish 12th, behind that of Sébastien Bourdais.