Palou pips Rossi for Portland pole

Alex Palou. Picture: Chris Owens

IndyCar Series title contender Alex Palou has edged out Alexander Rossi for pole position at the Grand Prix of Portland by a mere 0.0872s.

The Spaniard clocked a 58.7701s on the fast and flowing Portland International Raceway to make it a Chip Ganassi Racing one-three as team-mate Scott Dixon qualified third.

Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren SP), Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), and Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport) completed the Fast Six order.

It marks Palou’s maiden pole position effort in the IndyCar Series and brings the gap between him and series leader Pato O’Ward to just nine points.

“It feels amazing,” said Palou.

“I’m super happy. My first pole in IndyCar. It’s the best start of the weekend we could have.

“I’m really happy about that. We’re starting in the best position tomorrow and we know we have a pretty fast car.

“I cannot wait for tomorrow’s race.”

Palou’s best showing in qualifying comes after a tumultuous period for the 24-year-old.

First, he suffered an engine failure at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then was taken out at Gateway Motorsports Park by Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay.

“We all know that the last two race weekends we had were out of our control, out of the team’s control,” Palou explained.

“We are fully laser-focused for these three races we have to get that championship home and try and get that.”

The first of those not to make it through to the final stage of qualifying, the Fast Six, was series leader O’Ward.

The Mexican will line up seventh alongside Ed Jones (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan).

Ninth was Oliver Askew for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with the top 10 rounded out by Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Trans-Tasman team-mates Will Power and Scott McLaughlin were 14th and 15h respectively for Team Penske.

The series’ most recent race winner Josef Newgarden was only 18th in what was a tough day for The Captain’s men, rounded out by Simon Pagenaud in 26th.

The Grand Prix of Portland gets underway tomorrow morning at 05:30 AEST.

Results: IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Portland, Qualifying

Pos Num Driver Name Time
1 10 Alex Palou 58.7701
2 27 Alexander Rossi 58.8573
3 9 Scott Dixon 58.8673
4 7 Felix Rosenqvist 58.9505
5 15 Graham Rahal 59.0067
6 26 Colton Herta 59.2796
7 5 Pato O’Ward 58.9732
8 18 Ed Jones 59.0247
9 45 Oliver Askew 59.0837
10 8 Marcus Ericsson 59.0901
11 59 Max Chilton 59.2346
12 14 Sebastien Bourdais 59.2419
13 29 James Hinchcliffe 59.2537
14 12 Will Power 59.0032
15 3 Scott McLaughlin (R) 59.3563
16 20 Conor Daly 59.0974
17 6 Helio Castroneves 59.419
18 2 Josef Newgarden 59.1371
19 77 Callum Ilott (R) 59.5008
20 60 Jack Harvey 59.1463
21 51 Romain Grosjean (R) 59.6344
22 21 Rinus VeeKay 59.1885
23 48 Jimmie Johnson (R) 59.712
24 30 Takuma Sato 59.1953
25 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay No Time
26 22 Simon Pagenaud 59.6591
27 4 Dalton Kellett 59.7438

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