Thanks in particular to an exceptional first lap, Alex Palou took pole position for the Indianapolis 500 Miles ahead of Rinus VeeKay and Felix Rosenqvist. On the French side, Romain Grosjean will start from 19th position when Simon Pagenaud will be 22nd on the grid.
Alex Palou thwarted the predictions. Crowned IndyCar champion in 2021 and current leader of the classification, the Spanish driver took his first pole position for the Indianapolis 500 at the end of the “Fast Six”, the third and final phase of qualifying which took up the whole weekend. Beaten last year in the exercise by his teammate Scott Dixon, member of the Chip Ganassi Racing team completed the four laps of the legendary Speedway at an average speed of 376.936 km/h, the second best performance in the history of the race behind Arie Luyendyk in 1996 (381.392km/h). In the aftermath, Rinus VeeKay made Alex Palou doubt with also a first lap beyond 235 miles per hour (378km / h) but the Dutch driver weakened on his last two laps and failed just short of the Spaniard. With an average speed over four laps of 376.926 km/h, the driver of the Ed Carpenter Racing team conceded only four thousandths of a second. Announced favorite after dominating the first day this Saturday then the Top 12, the second phase of qualifying this Sunday, Felix Rosenqvist started last.
Alex Palou is your 2023 #Indy500 pole winner!
He sets a new track record for the fastest four-lap average pole speed in the HISTORY of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”#INDYCAR | #ThisIsMay https://t.co/aThawiIwCr
— Indianapolis Motor Speedway (@IMS) May 21, 2023
Rosenqvist disappoints, Grosjean and Pagenaud not there
However, the McLaren team driver was not there. Less incisive on the first lap, the Swede was unable to raise the bar on the next three. With an average speed of 376.770 km/h, he will however take his place in the front row. Behind them, Santino Ferrucci, Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon will form the second row. On the French side, it was simply as spectators that the two French representatives attended this outcome. Invited to the “Fast Six” last year, Romain Grosjean could not do better than the 19th best performance this Saturday with an average speed of 373;363km/h and will start from the seventh row. Simon Pagenaud will be right behind him, on the eighth rung. The winner of the 2019 edition of the event, with an average speed of 373.171 km/h, took 22nd place. Graham Rahal, third in 2011 and 2022, will not start the race next weekend. Dead last this Saturday, the driver of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team had one last chance to qualify on a starting grid limited to 33 single-seaters but with 34 entered in qualifying. The American was dislodged at the very last moment by his teammate Jack Harvey, who will bring up the rear at the start of a highly anticipated event.
INDYCAR – 500 MILES D’INDIANAPOLIS / QUALIFICATIONS
Ranking of the “Fast Six” – Sunday, May 21, 2023
1- Alex Palou (ESP/Chip Ganassi Racing) 376,936km/h
2- Rinus VeeKay (PBS/Ed Carpenter Racing) 376,926
3- Felix Rosenqvist (SUE/McLaren) 376.770
4- Santino Ferrucci (USA/AJ Foyt Enterprises) 376,041
5- Pato O’Ward (MEX/McLaren) 375,231
6- Scott Dixon (NZL/Chip Ganassi Racing) 375,220