Race Weekend Central

Christian Lundgaard Narrowly Misses Out on Indianapolis Road Course Pole

INDIANAPOLIS — Christian Lundgaard has a knack for the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he qualified second for Saturday’s (May 11) Sonsio Grand Prix, the fourth race of the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series season.

The Danish racer put his No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) Racing Honda onto the front row with a lap of 1 minute, 9.0921 seconds to average 127.083 mph around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. Lundgaard’s lap was .0917 seconds slower than Alex Palou‘s pole-winning lap.

“I must say I’m a little disappointed,” Lundgaard said in the post-qualifying press conference. “There’s only one more guy to beat, I mean we’ve done it before. We’ve been on the pole here, we’ve also started second, that will now be the second time in a row that I’ll do that but I think as a team we need to be proud of always knocking on the door when we’re here. We’re always competitive and yet we’re still trying to find different things and make different things work which is an approach we took for this weekend because we knew we had a place to fall back to.”

See also
Alex Palou Qualifies on Pole for Indianapolis Grand Prix

Lundgaard’s path to the final qualifying round went through two rounds of knockout qualifying. The 2017 Spanish F4 Champion was second fastest in his first round group and was second fastest in the second round of qualifying before advancing to the Firestone Fast Six.

It wasn’t just a banner qualifying session for Lundgaard as all three RLL Racing entries made it to the second round of qualifying. Graham Rahal‘s No. 15 Honda will start ninth while Pietro Fittipaldi‘s No. 30 Honda will start 11th.

“At least on the 45 car, we took a little bit of a different approach to the weekend which we’ve done on most tracks this year, honestly,” Lundgaard said. “Which again comes to the car changes, the weight, specifically. Obviously trying to compensate for that and it’s been a direction that we’ve been working in the past couple of years, but I think we took a little bit too big of a swing at it. We basically came back to relatively where we were last year with the modifications but the car is in a good window.”

Lundgaard’s qualifying performance continues a string of impressive performances for the 2023 Toronto IndyCar race winner. In his IndyCar debut at this track in 2021, the then-Formula 2 competitor qualified fourth and finished 12th. In fact, Lundgaard has started no lower than eighth in his five previous starts on the IMS road course.

The 85-lap race will air live on NBC and Peacock. The broadcast will begin at 3 p.m. ET with the green flag 45 minutes later.

About the author

Christopher DeHarde has covered IndyCar racing and the Road to Indy for various outlets since 2014. In addition to open wheel racing, DeHarde has also covered IMSA and various short track racing events around Indiana. Originally from New Orleans, DeHarde moved to the Indianapolis area in 2017 to further pursue a career as a motorsports writer.

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