O’Ward tops heavily disrupted Practice 2 at Long Beach

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Pato O’Ward topped a heavily disrupted Practice 2 at Long Beach for Arrow McLaren SP ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood and Romain Grosjean.

Colton Herta finished in fourth place for Andretti setting a 1:06.1475 just ahead of Scott McLaughlin.

The 45-minute Practice session got underway and a flurry of cars joined the Long Beach circuit to gain valuable track time.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon topped the timesheets in the opening stages with a 1:10.2144 just ahead of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan duo Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard.

The red flags were brought out four minutes into the session due to British driver Callum Ilott clattering the barrier at Turn 5 after hitting the kerb. A critical error for the Juncos Hollinger Racing driver at the beginning of a very important session.

After a lengthy delay, the session resumed with 40 minutes left on the clock. A second red flag was called after Rinus VeeKay crashed at Turn 5 in a similar error to Ilott a couple of minutes later.

The kerb at Turn 5 changed prior to Practice 2 with an extra kerb added on the circuit.

The times continued to tumble as Herta momentarily jumped to the top of the timesheets with a 1:08.8233 before Arrow McLaren SP’s O’Ward went to P1.

Sting Ray Robb locked up on Seaside Way and went into the runoff area but got away without damaging his Dale Coyne Racing car.

With half an hour remaining, McLaughlin led the field with a 1:07.1627 ahead of American driver Josef Newgarden and O’Ward.

McLaughlin improved his time to a 1:07.0182 as his compatriot Dixon slotted into second place after he set a 1:07.0957.

Andretti Autosport’s Kirkwood set a 1:07.2044 to go fourth quickest with 21 minutes to go. One of his team mates Colton Herta sat in ninth place on a long run on the Primary tyres.

Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist broke the 1:07 barrier and set a 1:06.8885 before being usurped by Herta.

The reigning champion Will Power broke into the top five with 16 minutes remaining as Grosjean suffered a rear lock up at Turn 8 but quickly returned to the track.

O’Ward drove to the top of the timesheets for McLaren, the Mexican driver completed a 1:06.5273 on the 1.968 mile circuit.

During the final 10 minutes of the session some drivers fitted the green-sidewalled Alternate tyres ahead of the all-important qualifying session.

Dixon usurped O’Ward at the top of the order on the Alternate tyres, driving to a 1:06.2407in the closing stages of the session.

O’Ward improved to set the fastest time for McLaren just ahead of the Andretti duo Grosjean and Herta as Penske’s McLaughlin went off the track at Turn 6.

Kirkwood improved to P2 in the final minute of Practice 2 during a very impressive session by Andretti.