Palou takes a hat trick of IndyCar poles at Detroit


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After winning the pole for the Indianapolis Grand Prix and the 107th Indianapolis 500, Alex Palou made it three straight and won the first pole position for the Detroit Grand Prix at the new Renaissance Centre circuit.

While the two-dimensional layout of Detroit’s new downtown street race didn’t inspire confidence as a successor to the defunct Belle Isle Circuit, throughout practice and qualifying the very bumpy surface has proven to be more than a handful for the 27 drivers entered.

But IndyCar Series championship leader Palou was able to conquer the jagged streets of downtown Detroit with relative ease, posting a lap of 1’01.859 to take his first pole at an IndyCar street circuit.

He’ll share the front row with Penske driver Scott McLaughlin, who qualified in second place.

Romain Grosjean returned to his otherwise excellent qualifying form on road and street courses, putting his Andretti third on the grid ahead of Scott Dixon in fourth place.

The third row will feature this year’s Indianapolis 500 champion, Josef Newgarden, and the runner-up Marcus Ericsson, in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Kyle Kirkwood had looked like a decent prospect for his second pole of the year, but he hit the wall at turn seven and damaged his left-front suspension bad enough that he couldn’t set a representative lap time in the second round of qualifying. Kirkwood will start 12th, behind Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist, Pato O’Ward, and rookie Marcus Armstrong.

This was Pagenaud’s first time progressing out of the group stages this season, a first for the embattled Meyer Shank Racing squad. But for O’Ward, it was the first time he missed the Fast Six session this year, on what ended up being a lacklustre qualifying session for McLaren.

Rosenqvist and O’Ward did fare better than team mate Alexander Rossi who just missed the cut in his first round qualifying group, and ended up 13th.

The barriers in Detroit had also bit the likes of Christian Lundgaard, who qualified in 18th, and Colton Herta, in 24th. Helio Castroneves, a three-time winner around the old streets of Belle Isle along with Power and Dixon, spun during his session and qualified 23rd.

Also, dubiously, Graham Rahal’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan car was the slowest qualifier for the second straight week. This time, however, Graham Rahal was saved the humiliation of being bumped from the field – he’ll start 27th and last in Sunday’s 90-lap race.

With the bumpy streets and double-wide pit lane, this year’s Detroit Grand Prix could be eventful for any number of reasons – the green flag flies at 15:30 EDT (local time), 20:30 BST.

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Detroit Grand Prix qualifying results

110Alex PalouGanassiHonda
23Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
328Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda
49Scott DixonGanassiHonda
52Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
68Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
712Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
860Simon PagenaudMeyer ShankHonda
96Felix RosenqvistMcLarenChevrolet
105Pato O’WardMcLarenChevrolet
1111Marcus ArmstrongGanassiHonda
1227Kyle KirkwoodAndrettiHonda
137Alexander RossiMcLarenChevrolet
1421Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
1520Conor DalyCarpenterChevrolet
1677Callum IlottJuncos HollingerChevrolet
1729Devlin DeFrancescoAndrettiHonda
1845Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
1955Benjamin PedersenFoytChevrolet
2078Agustin CanapinoJuncos HollingerChevrolet
2118David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
2214Santino FerrucciFoytChevrolet
2306Helio CastronevesMeyer ShankHonda
2426Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
2530Jack HarveyRLLHonda
2651Sting Ray RobbCoyne/RWRHonda
2715Graham RahalRLLHonda

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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