Pato O’Ward secures pole ahead of Alexander Rossi in IndyCar season opener

Arrow McLaren SP’s Patricio O’Ward kicked off his 2021 IndyCar campaign in style – taking pole position for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. The Mexican extraordinaire looked extremely quick throughout the day, topping all the sessions he featured in throughout qualifying. He narrowly edged out Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi by nearly seven-hundredths of a second on route to securing his second career pole.

Third fastest and quickest of the Chip Ganassi drivers went to series sophomore Alex Palou in his first qualifying run for Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda, while four-time Barber polesitter Will Power was top Team Penske driver in fourth.

Six-time and reigning champion Scott Dixon, who is seeking his first Barber win, will line up fifth, alongside teammate Marcus Ericsson, making it three Ganassi cars in the first three rows.

Romain Grosjean, who drove with a custom helmet designed by his children, drove superbly to secure seventh on his debut. He will start ahead of two-time series champion Josef Newgarden in eighth and young superstar Colton Herta in ninth with Conor Daly rounding out the top ten.

Courtesy of Chris Owens

The qualifying session was not without its drama. The second group session was first disrupted by James Hinchcliffe understeering off the track into the tire wall at Turn 5, bringing out the red flag. Pato O’Ward himself narrowly saved a huge moment at the top of the crest between Turns 13 and 14 on his way to topping the session.

However, his teammate Felix Rosenqvist was not so lucky. The Swede dropped it at the final turn which brought out the second red flag of the session. Despite crossing the line, the lap-time was deleted.

Other notable mentions include our other two star rookies, Australian Supercar Champion Scott McLaughlin and multiple-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson who will start 12th and 22nd respectively.

CLASSIFICATION:

  1. Patricio O’Ward
  2. Alexander Rossi
  3. Alex Palou
  4. Will Power
  5. Scott Dixon
  6. Marcus Ericsson
  7. Romain Grosjean
  8. Josef Newgarden
  9. Colton Herta
  10. Conor Daly
  11. Jack Harvey
  12. Scott McLaughlin
  13. Ed Jones
  14. Rinus VeeKay
  15. Simon Pagenaud
  16. Sebastien Bourdais
  17. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  18. Graham Rahal
  19. Takuma Sato
  20. Max Chilton
  21. Jimmie Johnson
  22. Felix Rosenqvist
  23. Dalton Kelett
  24. James Hinchcliffe

 

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