Rosenqvist and Ericsson reflect on their “fun” P4 finishes at Iowa

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It was an overall positive Iowa race weekend for the Swedish drivers on the INDYCAR grid, as they both achieved an impressive fourth place finish starting from much further back on the grid.

On Saturday, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson started from P10, moving up to an almost podium finish also thanks to a smart pit strategy that saw him stopping a few laps earlier than everyone else.

The 2022 Indy 500 race winner was extremely pleased with his recovery drive, which allowed him to be the best placed Honda-powered car on Saturday. After the end of the race he summed up his day:

“I really enjoyed it! This track is almost always so fun, especially in the races because it feels like you’re overtaking or going side by side constantly for the whole race, and when you have a good car like I have in the No 8 it’s fun.

“We had a strong day, I think, started tenth finishing fourth, that’s a good day’s work. We wanted a bit more, of course, but solid day.”

Photo credit: Chip Ganassi Racing

Asked if his recovery had been aided by the caution issued shortly after his pitstop as Rahal hit the wall, Ericsson denied it, mentioning that he had a strong enough car to achieve the final result without the helps of external factors.

“We had a stint where we had a lot of degradation, which is strange because the other stints were actually really good on degradation compared to other people, so it was a little bit surprising, but the pit wall did a good call to get us in a bit earlier.

“Then I straight away started to look after those tyres, and we did some changes to make sure we were looking after the rear axle a bit more. The yellow didn’t hurt us, but I don’t think we gained a ton from it. We were just strong in general,” he concluded.

Sunday was the day Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist equalled his best ever oval result of P4, previously attained in the 2022 Indy 500, starting from a lowly P16. The Swedish driver was in contention for victory in the second part of the race, but at the last restart he was pushed on to the marbles by Will Power as they battled for P2, which meant he lost out to Palou as well.

Rosenqvist wasn’t completely surprised by his very strong performance, in spite of the fact it came after a 13th place on Saturday in a race that proved to be difficult because of tyre degradation and a lack of speed, as he said in his post-race interview.

“Yes and no, I mean, we have been strong here previously, but I thought we all had a pretty tough day as a team yesterday, Pato did a mega performance.

“But today the car was really good, thanks to the team, who turned around the car really good. It was also fun to race, we were one lap down at a point. From there on, we had two really really good stints in the middle.”

In the final, heated moments of the race, which saw him struggle worth tyre degradation as well, the winner of the 2020 Road America round mentioned feeling like he was “pushed” up to the dirtier part of the track by Team Penske’s Will Power, which went on to end in P2:

“The last stint was initially really good, and then I struggled a little bit at the end. The last restart I don’t know, I have to look at it because it felt like Will [Power] kind of pushed me up in the marbles. I was very lucky to finish the race to be fair, because I was full locked, as you know, waiting to see where I was going to end up.

“Never been more bummed about a fourth place. Anyways, it was a good drive, those last lap things can end up either way, as we saw in Indy. Hell of a day for us, glad we have some momentum going,” he concluded on a more positive note.

Asked how he had been dealing with the new chassis he had to have installed on his car no 6 after a crash in second practice during the event in Toronto , Rosenqvist mentioned that he just needed to adapt to it and get it to suit his driving style better:

“I think it’s just a matter of readjusting a bunch of things, you know, none of them are the same. I topped the car in Toronto so we kind of had to restart a little bit and I think that set us back from Day 1 here.

“But yeah in that sense I was pretty surprised that we found such a leap. Yesterday I think we had a maybe top 12, top 11 car, and today we had a car to win, so that’s a phenomenal turnaround. Huge thanks to the team, it gets gnarly out there so I’m happy to bring it back, wish I was on the podium,” he concluded.

Photo credit: Arrow McLaren