Palou leads championship after P2 in Alabama

May 1, 2022

Alex Palou is the new leader of the NTT Indycar series thanks to a well-deserved second place in the fourth round of the championship, the Grand Prix of Alabama at Birmingham’s Barber Motorsport Park road course. The Monaco Increase Management driver has finished on the podium on three out of four events and always scored points so far, making him the most consistent and effective man in the drivers’ pack. Once again, Palou and CGR team’s strategist Barry Wanser played a skillful game of race tactics, delaying both pit calls for fresher tires and fuel to come ahead of their main competitors. Alex Palou had started the 90-laps race from third on the grid, having reported a best lap time of 1min06sec4415 in the final round of qualifying. On harder tires, he had to let McLaughling through at the start, and subsequently paced himself until his first planned pit-stop on lap 31. Yet, the team lost some time with the rear right wheel and Palou came out of the pit road in P7, climbing to P4 before a caution period following Callum Illiot’s spin. On ‘black’ (hard) used tires, which take longer to warm up, he lost one place to Alexander Rossi at the rolling restart on lap 35, but Palou was saving up for the last stage of the race which came around after his second and last pitcall. Palou and CGR decided to stay out longer than the other drivers they were battling and Alex gave it all in the two laps at his disposal without traffic ahead. His driving and the chosen strategy allowed Palou to gain positions on leaving the pits, and after Ericsson’s pit stop the 25-years old MIM driver found himself in P2, just after race leader Pato O’Ward. Palou came in to within a second from the Mexican driver in the last laps but in the end he settled for second, which was enough to take the lead in the points standings with a three-points margin over McLaughlin, ahead of the busy May schedule that will see all drivers engaged in the Indianapolis double challenge, with a race on the infield street circuit preceding the fabulous 500 Miles.