Alex Pole-ou Takes First Career Pole for Grand Prix of Portland

Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Alex Palou adds to his weekend of firsts, claiming his maiden NTT IndyCar Series pole position on his first trip to Portland International Raceway for the Grand Prix of Portland.

Palou was fastest in the early practice session even after bringing out a red flag, and was fastest in every segment of qualifying he participated in. After an engine failure and wreck in the past two races, Palou sets him self in the prime position to take his third win of the season.

Group one hit the track first, including the likes of Alexander Rossi, Romain Grosjean, Helio Castroneves and Patricio O’Ward. Marcus Ericsson was the fastest in the group, with Rossi and Graham Rahal right behind, while Grosjean and Castroneves missed out on the top six. Championship leader O’Ward narrowly escaped the session in sixth along with surprise advancements in Oliver Askew and Max Chilton.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was expected to compete in this group, but due to engine issues in the earlier practice session he did not participate as his team performed an engine change. He will start from the back of the field. IndyCar rookie Callum Ilott was also in this group, finishing eleventh for Juncos Hollinger Racing. He will start the race tomorrow in nineteenth.

Post session, race control announced that Grosjean impeded McLaughlin as he was setting up for his next flying lap. While both were outside of the spots to advance, Grosjean will now start twenty-first.

Group two consisted of other major title contenders like Palou, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden. Shockingly, Newgarden was unable to advance, as well as fast cars in Jack Harvey and Will Power. Felix Rosenqvist went fastest in the session, while teammates Palou and Dixon advanced to gain serious ground on their title rival. Pushing out some of these top names were Ed Jones and Sebastien Bourdais, who put together strong laps to advance in fifth and sixth respectively.

Newgarden, who was dumbfounded about the lack of pace, will start the race eighteenth.

(Photo Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar)

In the fast twelve, half of the field began the session on the alternate red tyres, including the likes of Palou, Dixon and O’Ward. The strategy worked for the two CGR drivers, as well as Rossi and Colton Herta, as they all advanced along with Graham Rahal. Unfortunately for O’Ward, he was bounced from the fast six by his Arrow McLaren SP teammate Rosenqvist, giving a boost to his championship rivals.

Chilton was among the drivers eliminated in the fast twelve, but his eleventh place starting position is his best all year, and the first time he and the Carlin team have advanced out of the first round of qualifying this year as well.

In the fast six, Palou once again out-dueled his veteran teammate Dixon for his first pole, with Andretti Autosport‘s Rossi stealing second to split the two PNC Bank Hondas. Dixon will start the race third with Rosenqvist alongside in fourth, the Swede’s best qualifying session of the season. Rounding out the fast six and making up row three will be Rahal in fifth and Herta in sixth.

O’Ward will start seventh having been narrowly eliminated by his teammate, and he will start alongside Jones in eighth. Completing the top ten will be a fifth row that features Oliver Askew in his first race for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and Ericsson as he tries to stay in the championship hunt.

The Grand Prix of Portland will take place on Sunday 12 September at 1500 EST / 1200 PST / 2200 BST.

Grand Prix of Portland Qualifying Results

1 10 Alex Palou ESP Chip Ganassi Racing 00:58.770 sec.
2 27 Alexander Rossi USA Andretti Autosport 00:58.857 sec.
3 9 Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing 00:58.867 sec.
4 7 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Arrow McLaren SP 00:58.950 sec.
5 15 Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 00:59.006 sec.
6 26 Colton Herta USA Andretti Autosport 00:59.279 sec.
7 5 Pato O’Ward MEX Arrow McLaren SP 00:58.973 sec.
8 18 Ed Jones UAE Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan 00:59.024 sec.
9 45 Oliver Askew USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 00:59.083 sec.
10 8 Marcus Ericsson SWE Chip Ganassi Racing 00:59.090 sec.
11 59 Max Chilton GBR Carlin 00:59.234 sec.
12 14 Sebastien Bourdais FRA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 00:59.241 sec.
13 29 James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 00:59.253 sec.
14 12 Will Power AUS Team Penske 00:59.003 sec.
15 3 Scott McLaughlin (R) NZL Team Penske 00:59.356 sec.
16 20 Conor Daly USA Ed Carpenter Racing 00:59.097 sec.
17 6 Helio Castroneves BRA Meyer Shank Racing 00:59.419 sec.
18 2 Josef Newgarden USA Team Penske 00:59.137 sec.
19 77 Callum Ilott (R) GBR Juncos Hollinger Racing 00:59.500 sec.
20 60 Jack Harvey GBR Meyer Shank Racing 00:59.146 sec.
21 51 Romain Grosjean (R) FRA Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing 00:59.634 sec.
22 21 Rinus VeeKay NED Ed Carpenter Racing 00:59.188 sec.*
23 48 Jimmie Johnson (R) USA Chip Ganassi Racing 00:59.712 sec.
24 30 Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 00:59.195 sec.
25 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport No Time
26 22 Simon Pagenaud FRA Team Penske 00:59.659 sec.
27 4 Dalton Kellett CAN A.J. Foyt Enterprises 00:59.743 sec.
(R) = Rookie
(*) = Subject to six position grid penalty for unapproved engine change

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