TORONTO — Christian Lundgaard mastered driving within the rain when he was rising up in Denmark. He’ll should put that to the check on the Honda Indy Toronto.
Lundgaard took the pole on a moist road course at Toronto’s Exhibition Place on Saturday, ending 0.3223 seconds forward of Scott McLaughlin and 0.3933 forward of Pato O’Ward.
The Danish driver was pessimistic about his possibilities to win the race, at the same time as he begins on Sunday on the head of the grid.
“I simply do not suppose we’ll be the quickest automotive [Sunday],” Lundgaard stated. “I do not suppose we have proven that tempo all through the weekend. I hope the enhancements that we did make from observe into qualifying — the modifications that we made — will repay.”
IndyCar standings chief Alex Palou was one of many drivers eradicated within the first spherical of qualifying. Palou had gained 4 consecutive races heading into the Toronto occasion however will begin fifteenth in Sunday’s race.
Reigning Honda Indy Toronto champion Scott Dixon did not advance previous the second spherical of qualifying and will likely be seventh on the grid. He is second within the IndyCar season standings behind Palou, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate.
Toronto’s Devlin DeFrancesco, the one Canadian driver in IndyCar, will likely be twenty second out of 27 to start out the race.
“I would not be upset with the win,” Lundgaard stated jokingly. “We do lead the sector off, however it’s powerful.”
Rain dictated the tempo for qualifying Saturday, with a gradual downpour resulting in a observe maintain between the primary and second teams within the first spherical of qualifying. Though the solar peeked by means of the clouds and began drying the course for the second and remaining rounds of qualifying, the road course’s mixture of surfaces dried at totally different paces.
“It is most likely one of many hardest road programs I’ve ever combated within the rain,” McLaughlin stated. “The concrete dries faster than the asphalt.
“Making an attempt to determine that out, you have to try this in break up seconds and belief that the automotive goes to cease.”
When the second group began its first-round laps, Agustin Canapino spun out on the slick, moist street however shortly recovered with out damaging his automotive. Graham Rahal spun out shortly after, together with his entrance wing going right into a wall and having to get replaced.
The solar got here out in time for the second spherical of qualifying, however some sections, particularly Flip 8 within the course’s northwest nook, nonetheless had puddles as the highest 12 went out.
O’Ward put in the most effective lap of the second spherical of qualifying in his final go-round to bump Dixon from the Firestone Quick 6.
McLaughlin additionally briefly misplaced management early within the remaining spherical of qualifying, narrowly getting out of the way in which of Marcus Ericsson.
It seemed like McLaughlin would possibly get penalized and dropped out of the second place, however after a 15-minute wait, the qualifying outcomes had been licensed by race officers. McLaughlin was visibly indignant as he sat in his automotive ready for the decision.
“I knew that everybody went sooner from that time [in qualifying],” McLaughlin stated. “I ought to lose my quickest laps as much as that time, however I should not lose my finest time as a result of everybody went quick and I did not decelerate anybody else.
“So yeah, I’ve received to rely to 5 typically.”
There is a 70% likelihood of extra rain Sunday, together with thunderstorms. Lundgaard stated that if it rains in the course of the race, visibility will likely be even worse since there will likely be extra automobiles on the course than throughout qualifying.
“Fortunately, I am on the market within the entrance and I will not should take care of that, not less than to start with,” Lundgaard stated.