Race Weekend Central

Christian Lundgaard Takes Second Pole of 2023 in Toronto

Christian Lundgaard took his second pole of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season in tricky conditions around the streets of Toronto Saturday (July 15).

The Danish sophomore will lead Scott McLaughlin to the green flag for Sunday’s running of the Honda Indy Toronto event. Lundgaard previously took pole position for the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis road course in May.

“I can’t thank this team enough,” Lundgaard told NBC Sports. “I know this is wet and it’s tricky, but looking at where we were on street circuits earlier this year and even last year, we’ve made huge progress. I can only thank the team at this point.

“It’s a street circuit and it’s always important to be in the front but now we don’t really know what the weather’s going to be like tomorrow, so I think going into tomorrow, we are at the front and we just need to take off.”

See also
2023 IndyCar Honda Indy Toronto Preview

Firestone Fast Six

Will Power looked set to add yet another pole position to his already impressive resume when he shot to the top of the charts as the clock struck zero for the final round of qualifying. But it was not to be for the man from Toowoomba, Australia as an onslaught of blistering lap times demoted Power from first to sixth in a matter of seconds.

Meanwhile, McLaughlin brought the first serving of drama for the Firestone Fast Six when he lost the rear end of his No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet on the exit of turn 8. The New Zealand native had to make a three-point correction to get his car facing the proper direction.

1. Lundgaard

2. McLaughlin

3. Pato O’Ward

4. Marcus Ericsson

5. Felix Rosenqvist

6. Power

Round 2

The start of Round 2 for the fastest 12 drivers from Round 1 was delayed considerably as INDYCAR scrambled to determine the final results of Round 1, Group 2. A plethora of spins and stoppages in that group provided race control with plenty of on-track incidents to sort through before releasing cars back onto the track.

Round 2 unfolded much more smoothly than either half of Round 1 and saw O’Ward sneak into the top spot at the very last second. The Mexican unseated Lundgaard on his way to the top of the time charts with a time of 1:11.3448.

Defending series champion Power made it to his first Firestone Fast Six of 2023, barely edging out six-time champion Scott Dixon in the process. Joining Dixon in elimination from Round 2 were Andretti drivers Romain Grosjean and Kyle Kirkwood. Both the former Formula 1 journeyman and the young American had shown serious pace in Round 1 before falling back into the field when wet weather became a factor.

Eliminated from Round 2 were:

7. Dixon

8. Kirkwood

9. Grosjean

10. Marcus Armstrong

11. Josef Newgarden

12. Rinus VeeKay

Round 1, Group 1

Kirkwood took his No. 27 Honda to the top of the time charts early in the session and was able to hold his spot without issue when heavy rain suddenly descended upon Exhibition Place toward the end of the session. Worsening conditions on the track slowed lap times considerably, meaning drivers who managed to finish flying laps before the rain arrived went unchallenged for the rest of the round.

Championship leader Alex Palou was eliminated from Round 1, resulting in his worst start of the 2023 season. The Spaniard will roll off in 15th place for Sunday’s race.

David Malukas was issued a penalty just past the session’s halfway point for impeding Dixon on a flying lap, resulting in the loss of his two fastest laps and the revocation of eligibility to advance into the next round. This penalty effectively condemned Malukas to a 17th-place starting position.

Eliminated from Round 1, Group 1 were:

13. Helio Castroneves

15. Palou

17. Malukas

19. Jack Harvey

21. Ryan Hunter-Reay

23. Sting Ray Robb

25. Benjamin Pedersen

Round 1, Group 2

Treacherous conditions in Group 2 saw several drivers finding frustration on an increasingly slippery course. Colton Herta, Tom Blomqvist, Grosjean, Agustin Canapino and Alexander Rossi all either spun out or had to take detours down escape lanes after locking up on corner entry. Rossi fared the worst of all after his Arrow McLaren Chevrolet lost power early in the session.

Graham Rahal‘s No. 15 machine was the first proper casualty of Round 1, Group 2 when the Ohioan lost the back end of his car coming out of turn 6 and damaged his front wing while bouncing off the inside wall. Rahal was able to continue after a front-wing replacement, but never fully recovered; he’ll start 27th.

Speeds began to rise once again as rain eased and the racing line around Exhibition Place began to dry out. The resulting dash to the checkered flag saw rookie Armstrong push his way into Round 2 with the sixth-fastest time of Group 2 in Round 1.

Eliminated from Round 1, Group 2 were:

14. Herta

16. Callum Ilott

18. Canapino

20. Blomqvist

22. Devlin DeFrancesco

24. Santino Ferrucci

26. Alexander Rossi

27. Graham Rahal

2023 Honda Indy Toronto Qualifying Results

Sunday’s running of the Honda Indy Toronto will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET. There will be no linear television coverage with the race airing exclusively on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.

About the author

Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

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