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Rosenqvist, Palou claim heat poles for $1 Million Challenge

The No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda of Rosenqvist vaulted to over his rivals in 1m38.5831 (111.999 mph) around the 3.067-mile, 17-turn road course to seize control of the opening group.

Palou, the reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion, continued to further establish his strong pace in the weekend’s testing after pushing a lap of 1m38.5675s (112.017 mph) to lead the second group.

Group 1

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon set the early mark of the eight-minute qualifying bout, nailing a lap of 1m39.7074.

However, Dixon’s time at the top was brief as Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), who led the final test session earlier in the day, jumped to the lead with less than two minutes remaining.

Moments later, Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin relegated both and assumed the top spot with a minute left. A mere few second later, Rosenqvist delivered his pole-winning run.

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay slotted third, pushing Lundgaard to fourth. 

Rosenqvist ended up claiming the pole by only 0.0237s over McLaughlin and 0.0452s ahead of VeeKay.

The Team Penske duo of Josef Newgarden and Will Power came across fifth and sixth, respectively, which pushed the Juncos Hollinger Racing tandem of Romain Grosjean and Agustin Canapino to seventh and eighth.

The rotation among the group left Dixon, the six-time IndyCar Series champion, falling to ninth.

AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci crossed 10th.

Colton Herta (Andretti Global) was left abandoning an earlier run after dirt was thrown on the track from another competitor and never recovered to challenge a lap to make the top six, ending up 11th.

Dale Coyne Racing rookie Nolan Siegel, who competes full-time in Indy NXT, stood as high as second in the group in the early going before fading to 12th.

Kyle Kirkwood encountered similar issues as Herta, his Andretti team-mate, with having to abort an early effort and not able to attack a quick lap, locking in 13th.

Sting Ray Robb (AJ Foyt Racing) wrapped up the group in 14th.

Group 2

The furious start to the second group saw Arrow McLaren set the early mark with Pato O’Ward hitting a 1m39.4293s flyer with three minutes remaining, but then knocked down a minute later by temporary team-mate Callum Ilott’s lap of 1m39.2527.

Andretti Global’s Marcus Ericsson was pressing for a quick lap until he appeared to hit a bump in Turn 8, which led to the rear of his No. 28 Honda to kick out and back into the tire barrier. The incident brought out the red flag with one minute, 19 second remaining.

When the session resumed, Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) established themselves as the trio of Palou, Marcus Armstrong and rookie Linus Lundqvist vaulted to the top three spots.

Lundqvist held that spot until Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda pulled off a late surge to claim third.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Tom Blomqvist was able to slot fifth, behind Lundqvist.

Pietro Fittipaldi (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) stormed to sixth.

Despite early pace by Arrow McLaren, all faded from seventh through ninth led by Alexander Rossi, then Ilott and followed by O’Ward.

Another CGR rookie, Kyffin Simpson, was able to secure 10th.

Christian Rasmussen (Ed Carpenter Racing), rookie Colin Braun (Dale Coyne Racing), and Ericsson rounded out the rest of the group in 11th, 12th and 13th.

In the end, Palou’s pace was 0.1900s faster than his CGR team-mate in Armstrong and 0.4048s ahead of Rahal.

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