McLaughlin qualifies fifth at Indianapolis, Grosjean gets pole

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin will start the Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the third row after a career-best fifth in qualifying.

The Team Penske pilot made it through to the Fast Six for the first time in only his fourth IndyCar Series qualifying session on a non-oval.

Qualifying was topped by ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing, who clocked a 1:09.4396 s on the road course configured circuit.

It marks the first time in 10 years that Grosjean has claimed a pole position, his last coming in the GP2 Series (now FIA Formula 2 Championship).

“That feeling, wow, I forgot what it was,” said Grosjean.

“Honestly, in the first part of quali I was struggling a bit. My engineer made some really good change over the runs.

“Actually, the Fast Six was the first time I run strong red (soft compound) tyres and the car felt really good. Amazing.

“When I saw the group I was, I was like, ‘Oh dear! If we can get out the first group that’s going to be okay’, and we did. The last few laps were on it.”

Having qualified inside the top six in the first and second leg of qualifying, McLaughlin joined team-mate Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing), Jack Harvey (Meyer Shank Racing), Connor Daly (Ed Carpenter Racing), and Grosjean in the Fast Six.

Grosjean was first to roll out onto the circuit, clocking a 1:09.7636s to kick off proceedings in the quick-fire six-minute session.

Palou quickly slotted into second on a 1:09.8621s, just 0.09s adrift of Grosjean’s benchmark.

Soon enough, Newgarden shot to the top with a 1:09.5665s, though that was quickly bested by Grosjean whose 1:09.4396s would ultimately be unchallenged.

Harvey looked threatening on his final lap, but a mistake out of the final corner before the timing beacon meant he remained in third.

Palou would improve his time to end up fourth fastest on a 1:09.7118s while McLaughlin improved his first lap effort of a 1:11.7652s to a 1:09.7140s to end up two tenths off pole.

Daly rounded out the top six, ending the session on a 1:09.8662s and 0.4s off of Grosjean.

Outside the top six, Will Power failed to make it through to the final stage of qualifying after he spun in the second segment.

That saw him disallowed from contested the remainder of the session, locking him into 12th on the grid.

Series points leader Scott Dixon was narrowly missed out on making it through to the second segment, qualifying eighth in Group 2. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver will start from 16th.

The Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets underway at 04:30 AEST tomorrow.

Results: GMR Grand Prix, Qualifying

Pos Num Driver Time
1 51 Romain Grosjean 1:09.4396
2 2 Josef Newgarden 1:09.5665
3 60 Jack Harvey 1:09.6528
4 10 Alex Palou 1:09.7118
5 3 Scott McLaughlin 1:09.7140
6 20 Conor Daly 1:09.8662
7 21 Rinus VeeKay 1:09.8185
8 26 Colton Herta 1:09.8222
9 18 Ed Jones 1:09.8548
10 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:09.8722
11 15 Graham Rahal 1:09.9060
12 12 Will Power No Time
13 7 Felix Rosenqvist 1:09.8243
14 27 Alexander Rossi 1:09.9012
15 8 Marcus Ericsson 1:09.8382
16 9 Scott Dixon 1:09.9512
17 30 Takuma Sato 1:09.8665
18 5 Pato O’Ward 1:10.0726
19 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:09.8759
20 14 Sebastien Bourdais 1:10.1830
21 11 Charlie Kimball 1:10.6810
22 29 James Hinchcliffe 1:10.6174
23 48 Jimmie Johnson 1:11.0455
24 4 Dalton Kellett 1:10.9312
25 86 Juan Pablo Montoya 1:11.1370

 

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