IndyCar Thermal Qualifying | Rosenqvist and Palou on top for Heat 1 and Heat 2

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Chris Jones
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It’s time for qualifying at Thermal. The drivers will tackle the first competitive session of the weekend split in two groups, each of them setting the grid for one of the two Heats of tomorrow afternoon. The top six drivers of each Heat will advance to the actual race for the big prize.

Group 1 features Power, Ferrucci, Kirkwood, McLaughlin, Canapino, Siegel, Rosenqvist, Robb, Grosjean, Newgarden, Herta, Lundgaard, Veekay and Dixon. They will have eight minutes available to set the grid by putting in their fastest laps.

Among the early attempts, Dixon leads with a 1:43.722s, followed by Rosenqvist and Lundgaard, but Penske appears to be fast here as well after their dominant St. Pete display, as Power cycles in P3 and Newgarden takes provisional P1.

A strong run is put in by debutant Nolan Siegel, which slots in P2 with a 1:40.121s, whereas the new Meyers Shank Racing driver pops at the top of the timings again. Herta had a slight hiccup while on a fast lap, which leaves him in provisional P13.

Rosenqvist takes P1 for the first heat, followed by Veekay and McLaughlin on the podium and Lundgaard and Newgarden in the top five.

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Chris Jones

It has been a challenging session for Andretti Global, with Herta and Kirkwood to start at the back of the grid.

Group 2 began with O’Ward almost running off track, but also running fastest in 1:39.429s after the first set of attempts, followed by Ericsson and Rasmussen in 1:42.817s.

Palou and Armstrong’s Ganassi get on the provisional podium, but they’re quickly shuffled back the order. A red flag was issued due to Ericsson spinning out of track and hitting the barrier for an overall awful day for Andretti.

Provisional standings have on top Ilott with a 1:39.257s, followed by his teammate O’Ward and Fittipaldi. The session resumed with 1:19s on the clock, basically allowing for a one-shot opportunity.

Only the top two McLarens opted to not return on track, as Armstrong pops in the lead. It’s a provisional Ganassi top three, as his effort is bested by Palou and just ahead of Lundqvist.

Rossi slots in P6, becoming the best Arrow McLaren driver, but there is still time for Rahal to bolt to P3.

The second pole sitter of the day is reigning champion Alex Palou, who had already led multiple sessions in Thermal on Friday.

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski