Mistake cost Dixon possible pole

Scott Dixon at Portland International Raceway. Picture: Chris Owens

Scott Dixon has acknowledged pole position at Portland was there for the taking, only for a mistake at Turn 7 to intervene.

Dixon is in the hunt for a record-equalling seventh IndyCar Series crown as the season approaches its climax, entering the third-last event at Portland 43 points shy of leader Pato O’Ward.

The Kiwi will line up third for tomorrow’s 110-lapper, having been beaten to pole by Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate and fellow title contender Alex Palou.

“I’m probably going to have to be fair here and say it was driver error,” Dixon said of the difference in lap time between himself and Palou.

“Big kudos obviously to the #10 car and it’s great to see two PNC Bank cars right at the front.

“I’m really happy with the car. I had the lap, I think, I just lost it all being a little bit too aggressive and silly in Turn 7 but again congrats to Alex.

“It’s great for us, especially with where our competition is now, at least for qualifying – obviously the race can change pretty quickly but very happy with the team right now.”

The 41-year-old believes he’s well placed to navigate Portland’s notoriously difficult opening sequence of corners on Lap 1 and is looking to be aggressive to improve his title hopes with rivals O’Ward (seventh) and Newgarden (18th) starting back in the pack.

“I’m going to go all out,” added Dixon.

“We’ll see, obviously rule #1 from Chip is not to hit your team-mate. I’ll be going as hard as possible and I know Alex is going to be doing the same thing.

“[Second-placed starter Alexander] Rossi obviously doesn’t have much to lose either, actually I think the whole Fast Six is just going to go gangbusters so we’ll see how that plays out.

“Hopefully we can play fair and get through there, but I think P3 is actually a great starting position, being on the inside, especially getting into that right [hand corner] so you can make the left, I know that has been really tough in the past.

“We’ll just try to keep clean and see how the race plays out. It’s a long race.”

The Grand Prix of Portland will start tomorrow at 05:30 AEST.

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