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IndyCar Road America

Lundqvist says “crazy” maiden IndyCar pole reminds him of UK racing days

Linus Lundqvist says his maiden IndyCar Series pole position came in “one of the craziest qualifying sessions I've had” in mixed weather conditions at Road America on Saturday.

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

The 25-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing rookie twice narrowly escaped through the knockout segments and into the Fast Six shootout for pole.

On a soaking wet track, he claimed the final transfer spot into the top 12 from group qualifying by 0.3497s over Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Romain Grosjean. Then, in the final moments of the top 12 segment, his best lap – which came with under a minute to go – bumped out team-mate Alex Palou, the defending race winner, from transferring.

As a dry line developed around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile natural terrain circuit when the Fast Six commenced, Lundqvist was the only one to start off on rain tires and had to come into the pits to swap for softer alternate slicks at the end of what was a throwaway lap.

When Team Penske’s Will Power brought out the red flag, however, it allowed a chance for him to get back into the same cycle as his rivals.

And when the time came to deliver a big lap on slicks, Lundqvist did just that by nailing a 1m45.1519s and going to the top of the leaderboard before the red flag waved for Josef Newgarden's massive crash to prematurely end the session.

“It was hectic,” said Lundqvist, who scored his first IndyCar podium at Barber Motorsports Park in April. “It was crazy. I say one of the craziest qualifying sessions I've had.”

Linus Lundqvist, Double R,  leads BRDC British F3 race at Oulton Park

Linus Lundqvist, Double R, leads BRDC British F3 race at Oulton Park

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Lundqvist went on to note how the session felt similar to his time in British Formula 3, where he captured the championship in 2018 on the back of seven wins, 13 podiums and three poles.

“This feels like an average British F3 qualifying back in the day type of style, where started off torrential rain, then the last part it dried up, we threw on the slicks,” he said.

“It was kind of fun going back to that, a little bit back to my roots. Even growing up back in Sweden, half the races we did was in the rain. I'm pretty comfortable there.

“Obviously towards the end it was staying on-line, not touching the wet. That's basically what I had in my mind. It happened to be good enough for pole.”

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Linus Lundqvist, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Lundqvist, the 2022 Indy NXT champion, also shared how his confidence continued to grow as he advanced throughout the qualifying.

“I felt pretty good in the first qualifying segment,” he said. “My last lap there wasn't perfect. I had a little bit of time to improve. I was happy honestly just to transfer from that.

“In the Fast 12, I felt pretty confident that we could do a pretty good job. That was a big thing for me, just transferring to the Fast Six for the first time. I said, ‘All right, let's try to go for it, see what we got here.’

“I knew it was going to come down to the last lap. Yeah, it was good enough.”

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