Romain Grosjean Takes First IndyCar Pole for GMR Grand Prix

Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing rookie Romain Grosjean wheeled his way to his first NTT IndyCar Series pole position, his first in ten years of competition, and will lead the field to green for the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Team Penske‘s Josef Newgarden qualified second, and will start alongside him tomorrow afternoon.

Group 1 of Q1 saw a few strong drivers get bumped early, as Arrow McLaren SP‘s Felix Rosenqvist narrowly missed out on Q2 and will start thirteenth, his best qualifying effort of the season. Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan‘s Ed Jones finished third in the group, an impressive run for a returning Jones. Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus Veekay was the fastest the group, and his lap gives the drivers eliminated in Q1 the odd-numbered positions at the back of the grid.

Group 2 was loaded with championship contenders, but with only six spots advancing there were bound to be some good drivers left out. Unfortunately, those unlucky few include the likes of Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon and Patricio O’Ward, who will start fourteenth, sixteenth, and eighteenth respectively. This was Dixon’s first time on the softer, red-wall Firestone tyres this weekend, after a clutch issue cost him time in second practice. Both rookies Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin survived this group to advance, as well as Conor Daly at his home track.

The action only intensified in Q2, when three-time GMR Grand Prix/Indy GP winner Will Power spun in turn thirteen with seven minutes left, and brought out a red flag. Per IndyCar rules, Power was not allowed to continue in the session, and had his two-fastest laps invalidated for causing a red flag. He will start twelfth.

The session restarted with three minutes left, and with time not on the teams’ side everyone switched to the red tyres to put in a fast lap. More lightning-fast cars were eliminated, like that of Veekay, who was at the top of the timing sheets all day, Colton Herta and Simon Pagenaud who will start seventh, eighth and tenth respectively. Sandwiched in ninth is the aforementioned Jones, who had his best qualifying effort since returning to IndyCar.

Q3 saw three first-time participants in Grosjean, McLaughlin and Daly, joined by regular fast qualifiers Newgarden, Alex Palou and Jack Harvey. Grosjean pushed his car to the limit, and benefitted from the timing of the checkered flag not allowing Newgarden another lap. Harvey looked as though he could possibly take the spot, but after running the slightest margin wide in turn ten on the run to the timing and scoring line he was unable to get the spot.

This is not only the first time Grosjean has reach a Q3 in a knockout qualifying format since the 2019 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, but his first pole dating all the way back to 2011 when he was racing in the GP2 series, now known as F2. Alongside him is the ever-consistent Newgarden in second place, the highest of three Penske cars in the top ten.

(Photo Credit: Chris Owens / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Harvey equaled his best qualifying effort and race finish at this very event, and will start third. Joining him on row two will be Palou, who rebounded incredibly from a hose leak in Practice 1 to start fourth. He is the only Chip Ganassi Racing car inside the top ten.

Row three will be composed of all newcomers to Q3, with McLaughlin fifth and Daly sixth in impressive efforts by both teams. While Daly has started higher than sixth before in his career, this is his first time reaching Q3 in a knockout-style format.

Jimmie Johnson was the only driver of this incredible rookie class to not be at the top end of the grid, but this is the closest he’s been to the pole time so far, roughly 1.6 seconds off the pole time. Still adjusting to a completely new discipline of motorsport, he will start twenty-third.

Returning faces to the grid for the month of May, Charlie Kimball of A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Juan Pablo Montoya of Arrow McLaren SP are still focused on getting acclimated to the cars again, and will start twenty-first and twenty-fifth respectively. Montoya has been uncomfortable in the car through all sessions today, and will hopefully be more adjusted for the Indianapolis 500.

The GMR Grand Prix will take place tomorrow, 15 May, at 1400 EST / 1900 BST.

GMR Grand Prix Qualifying Results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER NAT TEAM TIME
1 51 Romain Grosjean (R) FRA Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing 01:09.439
2 2 Josef Newgarden USA Team Penske 01:09.566
3 60 Jack Harvey ENG Meyer Shank Racing 01:09.652
4 10 Alex Palou ESP Chip Ganassi Racing 01:09.711
5 3 Scott McLaughlin (R) NZL Team Penske 01:09.714
6 20 Conor Daly USA Ed Carpenter Racing 01:09.866
7 21 Rinus VeeKay NED Ed Carpenter Racing 01:09.818
8 26 Colton Herta USA Andretti Autosport 01:09.822
9 18 Ed Jones UAE Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan 01:09.854
10 22 Simon Pagenaud FRA Team Penske 01:09.872
11 15 Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 01:09.906
12 12 Will Power AUS Team Penske No Time
13 7 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Arrow McLaren SP 01:09.824
14 27 Alexander Rossi USA Andretti Autosport 01:09.901
15 8 Marcus Ericsson SWE Chip Ganassi Racing 01:09.838
16 9 Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing 01:09.951
17 30 Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 01:09.866
18 5 Pato O’Ward MEX Arrow McLaren SP 01:10.072
19 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 01:09.875
20 14 Sebastien Bourdais FRA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 01:10.183
21 11 Charlie Kimball USA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 01:10.681
22 29 James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 01:10.617
23 48 Jimmie Johnson (R) USA Chip Ganassi Racing 01:11.045
24 4 Dalton Kellett CAN A.J. Foyt Enterprises 01:10.931
25 86 Juan Pablo Montoya COL Arrow McLaren SP 01:11.137
(R) = Rookie / Carlin had to withdrawal from the event after Max Chilton was unable to make the race due to travel restrictions.

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