Alexander Rossi ahead of Long Beach: “We feel very confident in what we have”

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It’s race week again for IndyCar, with the championship heading to California for the second street race of the season. Arrow McLaren‘s Alexander Rossi talked about the upcoming Long Beach round in a press conference attended by Pit Debrief.

The Californian driver is really looking forward to race in his state and on a track where he holds the record for highest number of victories in the current field, tied with reigning champion Will Power.

“I say it all the time, outside the Indy 500 I think this is one of our flagship races if not the flagship race. It’s always such an amazing event. from not only an entertainment on-and-off-the-track standpoint but a turnout standpoint.

“The fans there are passionate, they’re incredibly knowledgeable about the sport, there’s obviously a huge amount of history that exists with that city and that track.

“Real excited to get back there. As you mentioned, we’ve had some success there in the past. With the new team and the momentum that the Arrow McLaren group has at the moment, we’re very much looking forward to the weekend,” he added highlighting the good form shown by his team, who are leading the drivers’ standings with Pato O’Ward.

A key moment of the weekend, which might be decisive of the race outcome, will be the qualifying session. Rossi is extremely aware of the importance that having a great starting position holds in Long Beach, as both his race wins came from pole position.

“For sure, I think you’re right: every qualifying is very critical, but especially Long Beach because the way it works out, it’s a two-stop race, pretty straightforward two-stop race. There’s not many yellows. It’s a pretty clean race, historically speaking. The leader doesn’t really get hung out by a close pit situation type of thing.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s very important to start in the top two or three, I think, if you’re going to want to try to win that race.”

As the Arrow McLaren driver had stated already after the St. Petersburg round, he is confident in the potential his No. 7 holds, but believes that to be able to actually consistently fight for race wins there’s still things to work on, especially considering it’s only his third race with a new team.

“We’re still learning as we go at this point. Yeah, I mean, I think based on St. Pete, I think based on the fact that I think Felix was in the top six in qualifying last year, their cars are good.

“Certainly there is a step we need to make to be as strong as Andretti or Penske on the street courses in general. But I think we’re close. I think we have just as good of a shot as anyone this weekend.”

However, if the opportunity arises, Rossi is ready to take advantage of it, after an unfortunate Texas race that had left him out of the race in spite of a top 5 start, as well as his teammate and pole sitter Felix Rosenqvist.

“Every race is important. But, yes, obviously you highlight the tracks that you’ve been historically good at, either for yourself or team perspective. It was a missed opportunity for two of the cars in Texas with very fast race cars not ending up getting a result.

“I think you’re correct in saying that the program that the team has this year and the performance of the cars has been really strong through the first two races. There’s no reason to not think that that won’t continue.”

McLaren has had the most impressive start of its IndyCar history, with two podiums in the same number of rounds, and Rossi is positive the team can carry its good form to a track where he has always performed well:

“Yeah, we’re excited about Long Beach. We feel very confident in what we have, what we can do there. It’s just about hoping a couple things go your way and you can come out of there with a strong result.”