Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Local hero Rahal tops third practice

Graham Rahal’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda edged out Team Penske-Chevrolet teammates Josef Newgarden and Will Power to top FP3, in a session blighted by three red flags.

Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Local hero Rahal tops third practice
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda
Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

The Columbus, OH-born 29-year-old, who won the 2015 race here, set a 65.2067sec lap to beat last year’s Mid-Ohio winner Newgarden by 0.0403sec, and last year’s polesitter Power by 0.13sec.

Power had been on a potentially better lap when he had to abandon it for the third and final red flag in the session.

Pietro Fittipaldi caused the first red flag, burying his Dale Coyne Racing-Honda in the Turn 2 Keyhole sandtrap after 10mins, and just after he’d moved into P2 on the times. He was bumpstarted and returned to pits, dropping sand.

He returned to the track but finished the session 23rd out of the 24 cars, 1.68sec off the ultimate pace.

AJ Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist went light over the crest at Turn 9 and spun backwards, making right-front contact with the wall, bringing out the second red, and requiring his car to be carried back on a hook to the paddock.

Then Simon Pagenaud entering Turn 12 and Spencer Pigot exiting Turn 1 simultaneously had incidents that required the red flag, the former nosing his Penske-Chevrolet into the tire barrier, the latter spinning backward and requiring a bump start. Pagenaud’s car returned to the paddock on a crane.

That left supposedly just 45sec in the session, but IndyCar allowed one timed lap for all cars that left the pitlane expediently at the drop of the green. Given the time it’s been taking to warm the tires up here, one lap wasn’t enough for anyone to improve their time, thus Pagenaud’s sixth place stood. He was a quarter-second off Rahal, and just behind Alexander Rossi in the fastest of the Andretti Autosport-Hondas and Chip Ganassi Racing’s five-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon.

Sebastien Bourdais was seventh ahead of top rookie Robert Wickens of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda, while Takuma Sato made it two RLLR cars in the top 10. Another rookie and local driver, Zach Veach, grabbed 10th spot.

Qualifying starts at 1.35pm local (Eastern) time.

Mid-Ohio, IndyCar third practice

ClaDriverLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 15 united_states  Graham Rahal  19 1'05.2067     124.662
2 1 united_states  Josef Newgarden  17 1'05.2470 0.0403 0.0403 124.585
3 12 australia  Will Power  18 1'05.3367 0.1300 0.0897 124.414
4 27 united_states  Alexander Rossi  14 1'05.3865 0.1798 0.0498 124.319
5 9 new_zealand  Scott Dixon  13 1'05.4553 0.2486 0.0688 124.189
6 22 france  Simon Pagenaud  14 1'05.4571 0.2504 0.0018 124.185
7 18 france  Sébastien Bourdais  18 1'05.4805 0.2738 0.0234 124.141
8 6 canada  Robert Wickens  15 1'05.6688 0.4621 0.1883 123.785
9 30 japan  Takuma Sato  18 1'05.6855 0.4788 0.0167 123.753
10 26 united_states  Zach Veach  20 1'05.8292 0.6225 0.1437 123.483
11 5 canada  James Hinchcliffe  14 1'05.8294 0.6227 0.0002 123.483
12 59 united_kingdom  Max Chilton  21 1'05.8626 0.6559 0.0332 123.421
13 20 united_kingdom  Jordan King  15 1'05.9350 0.7283 0.0724 123.285
14 28 united_states  Ryan Hunter-Reay  14 1'06.0008 0.7941 0.0658 123.162
15 88 united_states  Conor Daly  17 1'06.0712 0.8645 0.0704 123.031
16 23 united_states  Charlie Kimball  18 1'06.1048 0.8981 0.0336 122.968
17 21 united_states  Spencer Pigot  14 1'06.1128 0.9061 0.0080 122.953
18 14 brazil  Tony Kanaan  18 1'06.1462 0.9395 0.0334 122.891
19 60 united_kingdom  Jack Harvey  15 1'06.1746 0.9679 0.0284 122.839
20 98 united_states  Marco Andretti  14 1'06.2009 0.9942 0.0263 122.790
21 10 united_arab_emirates  Ed Jones  14 1'06.2550 1.0483 0.0541 122.690
22 4 brazil  Matheus Leist  9 1'06.3903 1.1836 0.1353 122.440
23 19 brazil  Pietro Fittipaldi  13 1'06.8910 1.6843 0.5007 121.523
24 32 austria  Rene Binder  18 1'07.2410 2.0343 0.3500 120.891
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