MIM driver gets fourth best in Day 1 and now will be chasing pole position for the Indianapolis 500
Monaco Increase Management driver Alex Palou braved unpredictable weather, rainy and windy conditions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today to record fourth best average speed in the first day of qualifying for the Indy 500, which earned him a ticket to the second and final day (Sunday, may 22) in which he will enter the Top 12 qualifying session. The fastest six drivers of this group, according to the 2022 regulations, will fight again for pole position on the same day. The race will be run on Sunday, May 29th.
The Qualifying format for Day 1 is quite intricated: at the end of a week of free practice sessions, drivers are to enter the 2.5 miles track one at the time, the running order being estabilished by draw. When all the 33 competitors have had their chance over a four timed laps run, those wishing to improve their qualifying position can choose between two lanes. Lane 1 will provide immediate access to the track, but the driver who chooses it will have to renounce his previous attempt's result; should he go for Lane 2, he is allowed to keep the first run average speed, but will have to make its way through traffic that will delay his action significantly. Things were made even more complicated by frequent rain showers (the timing had been set to one hour earlier because of bad weather predictions, as there's no running on ovals when it rains) which hampered and virtually cancelled most of the six-hour session.
Alex Palou had neither of this problems though: his first and only qualified attempt did not require a second run as he achieved an average speed of 232.774 mph (equivalent to 374,533 kph) with a recorded top speed of 237.154 (381.580 kph) through the speed trap located at Turn 1. Palou exceeded the 237 mph limit in his first two laps, then his pace dropped a little bit due to tire degradation, but was enough to make his #10 NTT Data the best of the Honda-powered cars.
"I'm Super happy with our first qualifying attempt", said Palou. The car was very fast. We were really busy in the office because we did not run yesterday and did not run a lot this morning. I’m very happy because we have all the Chip Ganassi Racing cars in the Fast 12 and we can all fight for pole tomorrow.”