Saturday, March 25, 2023

Ericsson takes top spot of Indy GP amid start time change

By: Michael Marot, Associated Press



Indianapolis ( Associated Press) – Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson posted the fastest lap in the final practice session of the IndyCar Grand Prix on Saturday, completing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course in 1 minute, 11.0839 seconds.

He qualified in 18th place for Saturday’s race, which would start about 30 minutes earlier than the originally scheduled time. Race organizers moved the start time due to the possibility of rain in the late afternoon.

Ericsson eclipsed rookie Callum Ilot late in the session, breaking Chevrolet’s dominant performance in Friday’s qualifying. Six of the top seven places use Chevy, including poll winner Will Power. English-born Ilot Junkos went 1:11.1979 in his Chevy-powered car for Hollinger Racing.

But Ericsson propelled its Honda to the top of the speed charts thanks to team owner Chip Ganassi. Honda took four of the top six spots on a hot, humid day in Indianapolis. None of the 27 drivers on the starting grid used red tires and many worried that without rain, tire wear would be a significant factor in the race.

Less than 24 hours after winning his 64th career pole, Power was in ninth place and moving within three to match Mario Andretti’s IndyCar record. This is the sixth time Power will start from the No. 1 spot on Indy’s road course, and has won four of the last five. The Australian is also attempting to win a record fourth Indy GP crown – his first since 2018 – for series powerhouse Team Penske.

Defending series champion and current points leader Alex Palu was eighth on Saturday. The Spaniard would start in second place in the race and drive for Ganassi.


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