Barely a week after the Indy 500, the IndyCar Series travels to Michigan in Detroit, a course-changing event. We are leaving Belle Isle, we are now driving downtown. It is Alex Palou who again takes pole position after the Indy 500.
It was Pato O’Ward who distinguished himself during free practice for this new Detroit track. Note the particularity of this pit lane separated in two, the stable boxes are face to face to save space in the narrow streets of Detroit.
Detroit, Qualifiers: Palou still on pole after Indy!
For this first group, we will have: Palou, Armstrong, Grosjean, Pedersen, Power, DeFrancesco, Rosenqvist, Castroneves, Pagenaud, Malukas, Rossi, Daly and Harvey. Palou scored the first mark in 1’02″6961 ahead of Armstrong and Grosjean. Rosenqvist moved up to 2nd in 1’02″8194 ahead of Armstrong and Grosjean, Pedersen and Power in the Top 6 so far. Castroneves misses hitting the wall, but manages to execute a 180° without damaging his single-seater.
Armstrong regained the lead in the standings in 1’01″8558, Grosjean passed Rosenqvist, Rossi rose to 2nd place, Pagenaud invited himself to the Top 6. Power was improving, he was 3rd and ejected Pagenaud from the qualifying places. Grosjean on a second flying lap, moved to second in 1’02″1756 while Pagenaud managed to return to 4th place and qualified again. Rosenqvist improves and eliminates Rossi, his teammate. The qualified are therefore: Armstrong, Grosjean, Palou, Power, Pagenaud and Rosenqvist.
For this second group, the pilots are: Lungaard, Dixon, Rahal, Kirkwood, O’Ward, Ericsson, Newgarden, VeeKay, Herta, McLaughlin, Ray Robb, Ilott, Canapino and Ferrucci. Kyle Kirkwood set a benchmark in 1’03″5884 ahead of O’Ward and Newgarden, it can go faster with the soft tires as we saw in the first group. Herta and Ilott are getting closer to Kirkwood’s time. Newgarden, recent Indy 500 champion with his all blue livery recorded a time which allows him to integrate the Top 6. For a short time, since Dixon, Lundgaard, VeeKay and McLaughlin will do better.
The drivers will put on soft tires now (green and not red on urban circuits). Colton Herta is doing Herta, too generous on his counter-steering, he will brush the wall. Ericsson, the unfortunate hero of the Indy 500 clocked a time of 1’02″5266, beaten in stride by VeeKay in 1’02″4777, Dixon improved on the latter in 1’02″3238 while Kirkwood fell to 1 ’01″5305. Lundgaard arrives with a flat left front tire, a slight bump against the wall but enough to break a tie rod. The qualifiers are: Kirkwood, McLaughlin, O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson and Newgarden.
The drivers who will try to qualify for the Fast 6 are: Kirkwood, McLaughlin, O’Ward, Dixon, Ericsson, Newgarden, Armstrong, Grosjean, Palou, Power, Pagenaud and Rosenqvist. Palou had set the best mark in 1’02″7247 before McLaughlin improved in 1’02″5717, Grosjean provisionally holds the 3rd time in 1’02″9537. Kyle Kirkwood slightly tapped the inside corner and broke his direction, the same bend, the same incidence as Lundgaard.
Power, Newgarden and Pagenaud are temporarily in the Top 6, synonymous with qualification for the Fast 6. Ericsson climbs to the top of the hierarchy in 1’02″3696, dislodged in stride by Palou in 1’01″6390, Power goes back in 3rd place in 1’02″1817, Pagenaud improves his level of play and places 4th in 1’02″1860, O’Ward is 5th, but is overtaken by Armstrong, Rosenqvist is up to 3rd place, Newgarden doubles Power for the gain of the 3rd place, Grosjean comes to sign the second time in 1’01 « 9018, Pagenaud is out of the Top 6. The qualified are: Palou, Grosjean, Ericsson, Newgarden, McLaughlin and Dixon.
They are now only 6 and one of them will be in pole position: Palou, Grosjean, Ericsson, Newgarden, McLaughlin and Dixon. So we have 3 Ganassi drivers: Palou, Dixon and Ericsson, 2 Penske drivers with McLaughlin and Newgarden and the only Andretti representative with Grosjean. Ericsson locks his wheels and pulls straight into a loophole, Grosjean will do the same in the same place, a few seconds away, the two gave up on the spot. Palou holds the best mark in 1’03″7423 while we wait for the quick attempts of the other pilots.
Dixon is on hard tyres, McLaughlin is on soft tyres, he sets a time of 1’02″4743, he beats Newgarden in 1’03″3529. Palou is improving, the Spaniard returns to the top of the time sheet in 1’01″8592! Dixon and his hard tires is in 3rd place in 1’02″9335, Grosjean goes back to 2nd place in 1’02 » 2896 but he brushed the wall and lost some time, he was beaten in stride by McLaughlin in 1’02″2348. Palou returned to the pits, McLaughlin is trying to improve, but the Penske driver will be a little tight to improve. Alex Palou retains his pole position ahead of McLaughlin, Romain Grosjean will be 3rd ahead of Scott Dixon, Newgarden and Ericsson are on the third row.