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Qualifying report
IndyCar Mid-Ohio

IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Palou takes pole by 0.002s for first-ever hybrid race

Honda shades Chevy as Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward pipped by reigning champion as new hybrid engines make qualifying debut

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, NTT P1 Award, Pole, celebration

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, NTT P1 Award, Pole, celebration

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou surged late and bested Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward to pole for Sunday’s IndyCar Series round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The reigning and two-time IndyCar champion pounded the freshly repaved playground that makes up the 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain road course in 1m05.3511s (124.387 mph) to claim the first pole of the hybrid era.

“It was huge,” Palou said. “I knew we had a really fast car.

“We knew we were racing with a disadvantage to the No. 5 from the tires because of the (extra) lap in the Fast 12 but we didn’t want to risk it. It was nice two weeks ago (winning the pole at Laguna Seca) and we wanted to repeat.”

O’Ward made a late attempt to knock Palou off his perch, but fell 0.0024s short in second with the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

O’Ward was the only Chevrolet driver to make the Fast Six.

David Malukas provided a remarkable performance and put the No. 66 Meyer Shank Racing Honda in third, just 0.2998s behind the mark set by Palou.

Andretti Global’s Colton Herta finished up fourth, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong in fifth.

The sixth and final position went to Marcus Ericsson in the No. 28 Andretti Global Honda.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Fast Six times

1
 - 
3
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 5

1'05.3511

124.387
2 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 5

+0.0024

1'05.3535

0.0024 124.382
3 United States D. Malukas Meyer Shank Racing 66 5

+0.2998

1'05.6509

0.2974 123.819
4 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 4

+0.4142

1'05.7653

0.1144 123.603
5 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 3

+0.5891

1'05.9402

0.1749 123.275
6 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 3

+0.6081

1'05.9592

0.0190 123.240

Although O’Ward led the opening half of the segment, it was Palou who set the quickest time at 1m05.2848s.

O’Ward secured second at 0.0760s behind, with Herta and Malukas in third and fourth, respectively.  

Fifth went to Armstrong, with Ericsson snatching the final transfer spot in sixth.

Although Scott McLaughlin pushed his No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet, it wasn’t enough as he fell 0.0234s short.  

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi was eighth, followed by Ed Carpenter Racing’s impressive rookie Christian Rasmussen in ninth. Christian Lundgaard put the No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda in 10th, ahead of CGR rookie Linus Lundqvist in 11th.

Romain Grosjean secured the final spot, with the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet in 12th at 0.4974s behind the mark set by Palou.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Top-12 times

1
 - 
3
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 8

1'05.2848

124.513
2 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 6

+0.0760

1'05.3608

0.0760 124.368
3 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 7

+0.2193

1'05.5041

0.1433 124.096
4 United States D. Malukas Meyer Shank Racing 66 7

+0.2225

1'05.5073

0.0032 124.090
5 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 8

+0.2677

1'05.5525

0.0452 124.004
6 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 8

+0.3096

1'05.5944

0.0419 123.925
7 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 8

+0.3330

1'05.6178

0.0234 123.881
8 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 7

+0.3579

1'05.6427

0.0249 123.834
9
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 8

+0.4063

1'05.6911

0.0484 123.743
10 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 9

+0.4857

1'05.7705

0.0794 123.593
11 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 8

+0.4957

1'05.7805

0.0100 123.575
12 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 5

+0.4974

1'05.7822

0.0017 123.571

In Group 1, Palou nailed a 1m05.4915s lap in the final minute to secure the top spot. Malukas delivered a stout lap that was 0.0417s off the pace.

Rossi secured third, with McLaughlin, who led before the group swapped from the harder primary compound to the alternates, in fourth. Rasmussen made a late push into fifth, ahead of Ericsson in sixth.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist was the first driver on the outside of the transfer spot in seventh, with Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood eighth and missing the cut by 0.0226s from sixth.

Despite being on a late flying lap, Graham Rahal dropped wheels briefly off course and missed the chance to transfer, finishing 10th behind McLaren's Nolan Siegel. AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci was 11th, ahead of Pietro Fittipaldi.

Toby Sowery’s No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing Honda underwent some minor work from his crew in the early part of the session and only managed to log one lap, which was a 1m08.2499s run that slotted him in 13th.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Group 1 times

1
 - 
3
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 8

1'05.4915

124.120
2 United States D. Malukas Meyer Shank Racing 66 7

+0.0417

1'05.5332

0.0417 124.041
3 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 8

+0.0631

1'05.5546

0.0214 124.000
4 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 8

+0.1362

1'05.6277

0.0731 123.862
5
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 8

+0.1459

1'05.6374

0.0097 123.844
6 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 8

+0.1788

1'05.6703

0.0329 123.782
7 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 7

+0.2006

1'05.6921

0.0218 123.741
8 United States K. Kirkwood Andretti Global 27 8

+0.2232

1'05.7147

0.0226 123.698
9
N. Siegel Arrow McLaren
6 8

+0.2764

1'05.7679

0.0532 123.598
10 United States G. Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 8

+0.3593

1'05.8508

0.0829 123.443
11 United States S. Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 8

+0.4499

1'05.9414

0.0906 123.273
12 Brazil P. Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 7

+0.6058

1'06.0973

0.1559 122.982
13 United Kingdom T. Sowery Dale Coyne Racing 51 1

+2.7584

1'08.2499

2.1526 119.103

In Group 2, Armstrong led the way and gave CGR a sweep of the groups after nailing a quick lap of 1m05.5044s.

Herta came across the finish line second at 0.1504s behind the New Zealander, with Lundgaard collecting third.

O’Ward delivered a strong effort as time expired to vault from below the cut line to fourth, just ahead of Lundvist and Grosjean.

Big names found themselves getting knocked out, led by six-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon, who slotted seventh at just 0.0449s from transferring in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

“Yeah, I should have gone harder on my first push lap,” Dixon said. “I tried and pushed a little too hard on the second. We were under by about two-tenths, which would have got us through. Went a little too deep into (Turn) 4 and lost out by one or two tenths.”

Team Penske’s Will Power also ended up missing the cut and finished eighth. Rinus VeeKay put the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet ninth, ahead of Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Agustin Canapino 10th.

CGR rookie Kyffin Simpson was 11th, ahead of Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden’s staggering outing in 12th. AJ Foyt Racing’s Sting Ray Robb was 13th, with Dale Coyne Racing’s Jack Harvey wrapping up 14th.

IndyCar Mid-Ohio Group 2 times

1
 - 
3
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 8

1'05.5044

124.095
2 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 8

+0.1501

1'05.6545

0.1501 123.812
3 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 8

+0.2440

1'05.7484

0.0939 123.635
4 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 8

+0.2818

1'05.7862

0.0378 123.564
5 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 8

+0.2959

1'05.8003

0.0141 123.537
6 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 8

+0.3069

1'05.8113

0.0110 123.517
7 New Zealand S. Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 8

+0.3518

1'05.8562

0.0449 123.433
8 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 8

+0.4610

1'05.9654

0.1092 123.228
9 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 8

+0.4813

1'05.9857

0.0203 123.190
10 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 8

+0.5208

1'06.0252

0.0395 123.117
11 Argentina A. Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 78 8

+0.5506

1'06.0550

0.0298 123.061
12 United States K. Simpson Chip Ganassi Racing 4 8

+0.5990

1'06.1034

0.0484 122.971
13
R. Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises
41 8

+1.1850

1'06.6894

0.5860 121.890
14 United Kingdom J. Harvey Dale Coyne Racing 18 8

+1.4570

1'06.9614

0.2720 121.395
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