Rossi leads Malukas and Palou in first practice at Road America

Spread the love

The 27 drivers faced a new challenge at Road America to kick off the 2023 edition following a repave to the iconic circuit based in Wisconsin.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Armstrong led the way after 20 minutes with the Kiwi rookie logging a 1:43.0223, 0.1s ahead of former F2 teammate Christian Lundgaard. Sting Ray Robb was the only other driver in the 1:43s at that point.

Dale Coyne’s David Malukas half an hour in as he banged in a 1:41.8652, over a second clear of Armstrong, Lundgaard, Harvey and Robb.

On a lap, Santino Ferrucci spun at turn 12 but managed to avoid the tyres and also stalling to continue on his way. Will Power also had issues at Canada corner as he ran a bit wide and went over the rumble strip. The American also headed into the tarmac run-off at turn 8 as he got very wide because of a lock-up.

There was a scary moment for Graham Rahal as his RLL car got loose through the turn 11 kink but managed to avoid the grass and wall.

Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean also had a hairy moment in turn 14 as he got wide. The Frenchman had a second excursion at turn 7 as he got on the grass and went airborne briefly.

With 30 minutes remaining, Alexander Rossi’s 1:41.7790 had him ahead of Malukas, Rosenqvist, Lundgaard and O’Ward. Championship leader Alex Palou sat in P6.

Rossi continued to lead from Malukas, with O’Ward, Rosenqvist, Palou, Lundgaard, Herta, Ericsson, Dixon and McLaughlin completing the top 10 ahead of the alternate tyre runs.

At turn 1, Christian Lundgaard got a little bit airborne where Scott McLaughlin had a huge launch during test last week. Pagenaud also got at the same turn as the drivers pushed to the limits and over.

Surprisingly, Rossi’s 1:41.7790 kept him top at the end of the session as drivers struggled to improve on the reds. Malukas, Palou, Dixon, O’Ward, Ericsson, Lundgaard, Rosenqvist, Herta and Armstrong rounded out the top 10. 0.5s covered the Arrow McLaren who was fastest and the CGR driver in 10th.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski