Round 10 of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES proved a highly eventful affair for Felix Rosenqvist, as the Swede tackled changeable weather, a practice crash, a memorable qualifying comeback and racing drama on the streets of Toronto.
Rosenqvist scored a podium in last year’s visit to the Canadian city – his first since joining the Arrow McLaren squad – but encountered a much more turbulent weekend in Toronto this time around.
While Rosenqvist got off to a strong start with the third-fastest time in opening practice, a relatively minor off in Practice 2 brought serious consequences as a damaged monocoque triggered a race against time to get the #6 car rebuilt in time for subsequent qualifying.
The Arrow McLaren crew miraculously made the tight deadline, with Rosenqvist aptly repaying their efforts by taking an inspired fifth on the grid for Sunday’s race, overcoming tricky conditions in a wet/dry session to once again make the Firestone Fast Six.
”To end up in the Firestone Fast Six after that crash in practice was a huge statement to the entire Arrow McLaren operation,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “The whole team, the #5 and #7 crew as well, came out, and there was essentially a beehive around the #6 SmartStop Arrow McLaren Chevrolet for three hours between practice and qualifying. It was a major team achievement and I’m happy I managed to reward it with a top five slot on the grid.”
The race itself took place on a dry track, but there was no shortage of drama as several caution periods combined with overlapping strategies, hard wheel-to-wheel racing and fuel-saving heroics.
A decisive moment of Rosenqvist’s race came on lap 45 out of 85 when, on a restart, he got stuck behind the spinning Helio Castroneves and lost several positions.
Also struggling with tyre wear, Rosenqvist eventually finished tenth.
”It was a bit of a tough day for us, fighting tyre degradation,” Felix Rosenqvist concludes. “We ended up on a strategy to save a bunch of fuel, and even with that we struggled with deg. We also lacked a bit of straight-line speed, which we’ve done all weekend, but it seemed worse in the race. We have to take a look at that.
“The pace generally wasn’t great today, and on top of that we had some issues along the way, getting caught up in that mess when Castroneves got tagged on the restart. All things considered, I feel a top ten still was pretty decent, although I’m obviously not stoked with the result.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES fraternity is back on track already next weekend (July 21-23) for the only double-header event of the season, staged at the Iowa Speedway oval.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | Rd. 10
Streets of Toronto (CAN)
1: Christian Lundgaard (DEN), RLL, 85 laps
2: Alex Palou (ESP), Ganassi, +11.789s
3: Colton Herta (USA), Andretti, +15.059s
4: Scott Dixon (NZL), Ganassi, +15.760s
5: Josef Newgarden (USA), Penske, +19.242s
10: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Arrow McLaren, +28.602s
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | After 10/17 races
1: Alex Palou (ESP), Ganassi, 417 p.
2: Scott Dixon (NZL), Ganassi, 300 p.
3: Josef Newgarden (USA), Penske, 291 p.
4: Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Ganassi, 275 p.
5: Pato O’Ward (MEX), Arrow McLaren, 274 p.
12: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Arrow McLaren, 183 p.