IndyCar | Detroit GP | Qualifying | Herta beats Palou and Newgarden to pole

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens
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Heading into qualifying, Kyffin Simpson and Graham Rahal knew they would be dropping 6 spots on the grid as they took unapproved engine changes ahead of the event.

Round 1, Group 1

The first time was set by Will Power on a 1:05.6231, a tenth quicker than Alexander Rossi. The Australian improved to a 1:03.1505 on his next attempt.

Penske continued to pace the pack with 5 minutes left, a 1:01.2798 from Power was just under a tenth quicker than McLaughlin. Kirkwood, Ferrucci (alternates), VeeKay (alternates) and Pourchaire completed the top 6. The top 5 were in the 1:01s.

Newgarden, Lundqvist, Simpson, Grosjean, Rossi, Rasmussen and Vautier needed to improve to make the next round.

Pourchaire, Newgarden and McLaughlin took turns at the top as the times tumbled on the softer tyre, with the Arrow McLaren driver logging a 1:00.7000 to end up quickest.

McLaughlin, Newgarden, Kirkwood and Power all did 1:00s as well to complete the top 5. Santino Ferrucci also booked his spot in the Fast 12 as a 1:01.2906 was a tenth quicker than Rasmussen.

Joining the Dane in getting knocked out were Grosjean, Rossi, VeeKay, Lundqvist, Simpson and Vautier.

Round 1, Group 2

The first time was put in by Alex Palou on a 1:04.2173.

RLL’s Christian Lundgaard was fastest after the first runs as a 1:01.4437 put him almost 0.2s clear of Colton Herta. Palou, Robb (alternates), Dixon and O’Ward completed the top 6. The top 5 all banged in 1:01s.

Rahal, Fittipaldi, Ericsson, Canapino, Armstrong, Harvey, Castroneves and Rosenqvist needed to improve.

Palou and Lundgaard continued to dominate the group. The Spaniard did a 1:00.3478 to end up quickest, less than a tenth ahead of the Dane.

Herta and Ericsson also got themselves into the 1:00s to comfortably make it through, and they were joined by Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon who did 1:01.0s to squeeze through.

Graham Rahal missed out by less than a tenth. Rosenqvist, Fittipaldi, Canapino, Armstrong, Robb, Castroneves and Harvey rounded out the rest of the order. The Swede lost his best time for causing a local yellow for going into the run-off at turn 8, dropping between Armstrong and Robb.

Round 2

Defending champion Alex Palou kicked things off with a 1:03.6985 as the top 12 would be reduced to 6 for the pole shootout.

Christian Lundgaard continued to be extremely quick as a 1:01.1663 saw him fastest on the primary tyre, half a tenth quicker than McLaughlin. Power, Pourchaire, Kirkwood and Palou rounded out the top 6. Less than four tenths covered them.

O’Ward, Newgarden, Dixon, Herta, Ericsson and Ferrucci needed to improve to get in, with the top 3 at the Indy 500 last weekend all in the 1:01s as well.

At turn 5, Pato O’Ward caused a red flag. The Mexican stalled as he tried to get out of the way of Kyle Kirkwood, ending up in the small run-off area and lost the engine in the process. He lost his two best laps and starts P12 tomorrow.

When they switched to the alternates, Andretti Global turned up the heat. Colton Herta cracked in a 1:00.2304, over a tenth and a half clear of stablemate Kyle Kirkwood. 6-time champion Scott Dixon, McLaughlin, Palou and Newgarden also made it through.

It was painfully close for Theo Pourchaire and Will Power as they missed out on the Fast 6 by 0.03 and 0.06 respectively. Ericsson, Ferrucci, Lundgaard and O’Ward also got knocked out.

Lundgaard was the biggest disappointment as he lost 0.7s versus Round 1, not improving his primary tyre time in the process.

Fast 6

Once again it was Alex Palou kicking things off, clocking a 1:02.9621, 0.3s ahead of teammate Dixon.

A 1:01.3046 from Scott McLaughlin put him over 1.5s clear with 3 minutes left as the New Zealander put in the first big time of the session.

The rapid times came in towards the end as Newgarden, Palou and then Herta took pole position. The Indy 500 winner did a 1:00.9607, before the reigning IndyCar champion banged in a 1:00.6995. But Colton Herta took pole as he smashed in a 1:00.5475.

Kyle Kirkwood, who had gone P2, caused a red flag and lost his best laps. The Floridian got it wrong at turn 1 as he locked up, and he ended up in the run-off. As he tried to quickly recover by turning the car 180 degrees, he stalled.

Although the remaining five drivers got another try, the tyres simply did not have the heat in them to improve.

Herta’s 1:00.5475 will see him lead the field to green, ahead of Palou, Newgarden, McLaughlin, Dixon and Kirkwood.