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IndyCar Toronto

Rossi shocked by bizarre failure as McLaren’s Rosenqvist scramble pays off

Arrow McLaren put two cars into the top five starting spots for today’s IndyCar race at Toronto, but Alexander Rossi suffered a bizarre failure he’s “never seen anything like” before.

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Rossi will start from near the back of the grid after his steering wheel completely shut down on the approach to Turn 1 in the second qualifying group. It left him stranded near Turn 2 for much of the session and he will start 26th in the 27-car field.

“My steering wheel failed in the braking zone, and I didn’t have the ability to shift or pull [the] clutch,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.

“Electrically, the car just died. Lost the dash, all power, everything. Sucks, the car was awesome.

“It’s a real shame because the car was great and had what we needed to qualify without a problem. We will regroup and be ready to fight from the back.”

The team’s race director Gavin Ward added: “We had an electrical issue with Alexander's steering wheel that cost him the chance [to progress in qualifying]. I have no doubt that he would have been right up there with them.

“That's something we need to learn from and fix, some work to do there that's the team's doing.”

Ward paid tribute to his squad after it built-up a backup car for Felix Rosenqvist following his crash in Saturday morning practice that holed the tub of his racecar.

Amazingly, he not only got out on track but qualified fifth.

“That was a heck of a thrash for the team after Felix had a bit of an off in practice and unfortunately put a hole in the chassis, so we had all hands on deck,” said Ward. “We had people jump in from all three crews to get the No. 6 SmartStop Arrow McLaren Chevrolet out there.

“Felix didn't disappoint to put it up there in the top five. Two cars in the top five is a great result, but at the end of the day our cars are very strong in the wet.”

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Rosenqvist admitted: “It was a hell of a day. That was a lot of work, but we ended up P5 in the end, an amazing recovery from a crash in Practice 2. I sent it in a bit too hard into Turn 5 and hit the wall.

“I didn’t really hit hard but unfortunately damaged how the front wing came into the tub, so we had to build a brand new car ahead of qualifying. Basically the whole team, the No. 5 and No. 7 crew as well, came out and there was just like a bee hive around the car for three hours between practice and qualifying.

“We did a seat fit 50 minutes before we jumped in, and we were still doing things for the belts and stuff. To end up in the Firestone Fast 6 and P5 after that was just a huge statement to this whole team, having got together and got it done.

“It was more work than we needed, but we made it through.”

Pato O’Ward looked to be in the hunt for pole, but after leading the way for much of the Q3 session, he fell back to third in the closing moments.

“That was a gnarly session,” he said. “That kept me on my toes every single lap. Obviously, it was a drying racetrack, and it just kept getting better and better. The car was feeling good; it was all about having confidence in it and really attacking some of the corners that you didn't quite know what they had in store.

“We just kept on pushing, and it's a second-row start for the team. It's a great starting position to challenge for the podium and the win.”

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