After grabbing the attention with a commanding run to fourth on his debut in St. Petersburg, Felix Rosenqvist returns to action with Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend as the NTT IndyCar Series sets camp at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, for the first time.
The season-opener in Florida marked a flying start to the new Rosenqvist / Chip Ganassi Racing collaboration. The Swedish rookie snatched the headlines with third place in qualifying, going on to sensationally lead the race for 31 laps – the second most of anyone – before coming home a strong fourth behind a trio of IndyCar champions in the form of Josef Newgarden, team-mate Scott Dixon and Will Power.
READ: Felix Rosenqvist takes fourth on IndyCar debut
Heading into round two of the campaign at COTA, perhaps best known for hosting the US Formula 1 Grand Prix, Rosenqvist hopes to maintain the positive momentum; but the 27-year-old is well aware that the demands of the 5.5 km road course are vastly different to those posed by the narrow streets of St. Petersburg.
“COTA is going to be an interesting event,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “The track is very different to all the others on the IndyCar calendar, so it remains to be seen what the racing will be like. It’s probably one of the toughest circuits on tyres and also in terms of diversity needed setup-wise. It will be a challenge for all of us.”
While COTA is making its first appearance on the IndyCar calendar this year, the teams and drivers are not wandering into completely unchartered territory. The official pre-season test took place at the venue back in February, allowing the field an early chance for familiarisation with Rosenqvist ending up inside the top five on both days of running.
”I think everyone is excited about this new addition to the calendar and we all enjoyed being there at the test,” Rosenqvist continues. “With good momentum from St. Pete, I’d still say COTA is a bit of a restart as the track is so different. I’m sure it’s going to mix up the order a lot, but I will do my best to bring home another strong result for the team.”
Free practice gets underway on Friday, with qualifying the main highlight of Saturday’s event programme and the 60-lap race itself taking place on Sunday.
After winning on the streets of St. Petersburg, Newgarden consequently leads the NTT IndyCar Series standings ahead of Dixon, Power, Rosenqvist and Alexander Rossi.
GUIDE: IndyCar – rules and information
TIME TABLE – COTA
All times local
Friday 22 March
Free Practice 1: 10.15-11.00 am
Free Practice 2: 2.05-3.05 pm
Saturday 23 March
Free Practice 3: 10.00-10.45 am
Qualifying: 2.00-3.15 pm
Sunday 24 March
Race (60 laps): 12.30 pm
LIVE TIMING: racecontrol.indycar.com
STANDINGS (TOP FIVE)
After 1/17 races
1: Josef Newgarden (USA, Penske), 53 p.
2: Scott Dixon (NZL, Ganassi), 40 p.
3: Will Power (AUS, Penske), 37 p.
4: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE, Ganassi), 33 p.
5: Alexander Rossi (USA, Andretti), 31 p.