Lundgaard grabs first win in Toronto as Palou takes damaged car to second


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Christian Lundgaard converted his first pole position to his first career IndyCar victory in Toronto to break a three-year win drought for RLL.

The 21-year-old won by 11 seconds over championship leader Alex Palou, who recovered from 15th to finish second despite running with a broken nose cone and severely askew front wing over the final third of the race. Colton Herta, who started, one place ahead of Palou on the grid took third place despite running out of fuel as he sprinted to the line.

The race was neutralised immediately after the start, where Lundgaard led away from pole position ahead of Scot McLaughlin and Pato O’Ward. At the first corner a major pile up at the back of the field involved a total of eight cars.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Benjamin Pedersen, Jack Harvey and newcomer Tom Blomqvist were all eliminated on the spot. Alexander Rossi, Sting Ray Robb and Santino Ferrucci were also caught up in the shunt but able to continue, albeit a lap down. Graham Rahal at the back of the field avoided the crash, smartly engaged reverse and rejoined the race without damage.

Lundgaard drew clear after the final restart
The race ran under caution for nine laps while the pile-up was cleared. The race eventually restarted on lap 10 with Lundgaard pulling a lead of just over a second ahead of McLaughlin by the end of the lap. With his softer alternate tyres, Lundgaard quickly pulled away from the Penske driver behind, who was on primary compound tyres.

Lundgaard pitted first of the leaders at the end of lap 19, his team fitting a set of primary tyres. O’Ward stopped a lap later and followed Lundgaard onto the same rubber, meaning all drivers on track were running either on primary tyres they had started on or had fitted during their first stop. McLaughlin had clear air but could not increase his gap over Marcus Ericsson in second beyond 2.5 seconds.

By lap 31 Palou had advanced to sixth place behind Colton Herta before eventually passing him to claim fifth. Out front, McLaughlin was beginning to pull out a gap over Ericsson, growing to five seconds by the time he made his first stop at the end of lap 35. He fitted the alternate tyres and rejoined in fifth, immediately behind former leader Lundgaard.

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After the first cycle of pit stops had concluded, Lundgaard resumed the lead with a six second advantage over McLaughlin with O’Ward back into third and Kyle Kirkwood ahead of Ericsson in fourth. However, just before the half-distance in the race, Romain Grosjean brought out the second caution period of the race when he appeared to clip the inside barrier at turn ten and crashed hard into the pit wall, ending his race.

Kirkwood was the highest position driver to pit under caution, promoting Ericsson to fourth. The race restarted on lap 46, but almost immediately went under yellows again when Helio Castroneves was hit from behind by Kirkwood approaching the final corner, causing him to spin. Palou lost a handful of places as he took avoiding action, while Castroneves stalled his car as he attempted to spin-turn, which led to his retirement.

When the pit lane opened, leader Lundgaard pitted for primary tyres, along with O’Ward from third and Ericsson in fourth. That promoted McLaughlin into the lead, with Scott Dixon in second and Rinus VeeKay in third, all three on alternate tyres. The race resumed on lap 52, with McLaughlin leading from Dixon and VeeKay.

Palou moved up into fourth place, but damage from the Castroneves incident had left his nose cone slightly dislodged and the right-hand side of his front wing running close to the ground. McLaughlin eventually pitted from the lead at the end of lap 61, rejoining almost to the very back in 15th. Dixon would pit on the very next lap, while Lundgaard would overtake Palou at the hairpin to end up back in the lead of the race.

Lundgaard pulled away from Palou’s wounded car over the remaining laps, gaining a lead of over ten seconds by the 80th lap. Palou came under intense pressure from a train of cars behind them with Herta trying to push the championship leader into a mistake.

From there Lundgaard ticked off the remaining laps to cross the line at the end of the 85th tour and secure his first ever victory in the IndyCar series. Despite the pressure and the broken nose, Palou held off the train behind to take second place, 11 seconds behind the winner. Herta completed the top three in third place.

Dixon claimed fourth ahead of Josef Newgarden in fifth, with McLaughlin recovering from his late pit stop to take sixth. Marcus Armstrong took his best finish of the season in seventh, followed by O’Ward eighth, Rahal ninth and Felix Rosenqvist completing the top ten. Will Power and Marcus Ericsson were forced to pit on the penultimate lap for fuel, dropping Ericsson to 11th and Power, whose engine had to be restart, 14th at the chequered flag.

Palou’s recovery to second means he extends his championship lead over Dixon to 117 points, with Lundgaard moving to seventh as a result of his win. IndyCar returns next weekend with a double header at Iowa.

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IndyCar Toronto race results:

145Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
210Alex PalouGanassiHonda
326Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
49Scott DixonGanassiHonda
52Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
63Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
711Marcus ArmstrongGanassiHonda
85Pato O’WardMcLarenChevrolet
915Graham RahalRLLHonda
106Felix RosenqvistMcLarenChevrolet
118Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
1278Agustin CanapinoJuncos HollingerChevrolet
1321Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
1412Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
1527Kyle KirkwoodAndrettiHonda
167Alexander RossiMcLarenChevrolet
1714Santino FerrucciFoytChevrolet
1877Callum IlottJuncos HollingerChevrolet
1951Sting Ray RobbCoyne/RWRHonda
2018David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
21106Helio CastronevesMeyer ShankHonda
2228Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda
2329Devlin DeFrancescoAndrettiHonda
2430Jack HarveyRLLHonda
2560Tom BlomqvistMeyer ShankHonda
2620Ryan Hunter-ReayCarpenterChevrolet
2755Benjamin PedersenFoytChevrolet

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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6 comments on “Lundgaard grabs first win in Toronto as Palou takes damaged car to second”

  1. That was a FAN-TAS-TIC race! Excellent performance by Luundgard. Awesome performance by Palou as well, and a heroic performance by his front wing.

    The initial battle between Palou and Grosjean, and especially that sequence where they both drifted one after the other was one of the coolest moments in racing I’ve ever seen in the 30 years of watching.

  2. It’s hard to understand how Lundgaard second season in F2 went so bad, he was by far my favorite pick. I hope this is the start of a turn around in his career.

    1. greasemonkey
      19th July 2023, 0:28

      Distilling racing talent is noisy. Very noisy. As in the signal to noise ratio is very poor. On top of the, the talent pool is tiny, compared to other sports.

      The best living racing talent is probably playing football on a field of dirt in India right now, on their time off from delivering Samosas.

      I love racing. I despise what I have to watch.

  3. Great run by Lundgaard, he would not be denied!
    Sadly the racing was hampered by that yellow as nearly everyone was fuelsaving to make it to the end and thats the reason Palou could hold back the others.

    Rahal was involved in the first crash. He hit Pedersen in the rear when they were breaking and ended his race. Rahal then had to change his front wing.

  4. Really good race! Lots of action constantly throughout the field. Lundgaard had a great weekend, and it will be good to see the paltry mustache go. Congrats.

  5. Prashanth Ramadas
    20th July 2023, 0:31

    The other sport which they show on TV in India is Cricket besides races I am sure there are more fans for this sport also globally everywhere.

    I don’t consider other things because I haven’t experienced them physically.

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