Felix Rosenqvist, Meyer Shank, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2024

Rosenqvist controls heat one but Palou takes pole for final in heat two


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Felix Rosenqvist and Alex Palou converted their pole positions for IndyCar’s two heat races at The Thermal Club into victory, meaning they will share the front row of the grid for the final.

Heat One

IndyCar’s first heat race at Thermal Club in a largely orderly affair following a first-lap collision.

Scott Dixon punted Romain Grosjean sideways well before the field reached the first corner on the 17-turn course. The sliding Juncos Hollinger car thumped into Rinus Veekay, putting both out on the spot.

Dixon was handed a drive-through penalty which he served after the race restarted. That immediately ended his hopes of finishing in the top six and progressing to the final.

Rosenqvist had to get his elbows out to keep Scott McLaughlin behind at the initial start but was never seriously challenged once the race resumed. The Meyer Shank driver ran out the winner while McLaughlin and his Penske team mate Josef Newgarden also progressed.

Christian Lundgaard, Agustin Canapino and Colton Herta took the final spots on the grid for heat one. There were no significant changes of position after the restart, though newcomer Nolan Siegel briefly took an interest in Herta’s sixth place.

Siegel slipped back after a slight error and took the chequered flag as the first driver outside of the crucial top six, followed by Santino Ferrucci and Will Power. The latter passed Sting Ray Robb and Kyle Kirkwood in an ultimately fruitless attempt to reach the top six after being delayed at the start.

IndyCar Thermal heat one result

160Felix RosenqvistMeyer ShankHonda
23Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
32Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
445Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
578Agustin CanapinoJuncos HollingerChevrolet
626Colton HertaAndretti/Curb-AgajanianHonda
718Nolan SiegelCoyneHonda
814Santino FerrucciFoytChevrolet
912Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
1027Kyle KirkwoodAndrettiHonda
1141Sting Ray RobbFoytChevrolet
129Scott DixonGanassiHonda
1321Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
1477Romain GrosjeanJuncos HollingerChevrolet

Heat Two

Alex Palou romped to victory in the second heat and claimed pole position for the final.

The second group of drivers performed a much cleaner start that the first did, as pole-winner Alex Palou and Marcus Armstrong led the field to the first corner. From there the two green cars disappeared, third-placed Graham Rahal dropping back at around two second per lap.

Linus Lundqvist in fourth place, and Pietro Fittipaldi behind, were content to bide their time. But further back all three McLarens completed the first lap outside the crucial top six placed which offered progression to the final.

The last place in the top six was held by Tom Blomqvist. Callum Ilott, still substituting for David Malukas at McLaren, initially led the three orange cars, but kept it clean when Alexander Rossi dived to his inside. Pato O’Ward also grabbed his chance to take seventh from Ilott, but still needed to find one more position to reach the final.

Palou began to drop Armstrong over the final laps and took the chequered flag five seconds ahead of his rival. The next five cars ran in close company but no one came close to mustering a pass, so Rahal, Lundqvist, Fittipaldi and Rossi claimed the last places in the final.

IndyCar Thermal heat two result

110Alex PalouGanassiHonda
211Marcus ArmstrongGanassiHonda
315Graham RahalRLLHonda
48Linus LundqvistGanassiHonda
530Pietro FittipaldiRLLHonda
67Alexander RossiMcLarenChevrolet
75Pato O’WardMcLarenChevrolet
866Tom BlomqvistMeyer ShankHonda
96Callum IlottMcLarenChevrolet
1020Christian RasmussenCarpenterChevrolet
114Kyffin SimpsonGanassiHonda
1228Marcus EricssonAndrettiHonda
1351Colin BraunCoyneHonda

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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3 comments on “Rosenqvist controls heat one but Palou takes pole for final in heat two”

  1. I feel bad for Grosjean, he knows his team can’t afford such damage.
    Heat 2 was nice – it made you feel that’s what F1 desired for the sprint races to look like.

    1. His team probably knows Grosjeans cost a fortune to run… he was innocent this time but the acting afterwards asking for the money for the damage… please…

      1. Grosjean shoved an safety crew member on his way back to the pits. The official wasn’t impressed and told him straight up. Grosjean went from lion to cat and subsequently tempered down.

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