Felix Rosenqvist came home a disappointed ninth in the 2016 edition of the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday.
Struggling with suspected set-up and engine issues, the Swede was unable to make an impact in the race, which took place beneath packed grandstands as part of the support bill for this weekend’s 100th running of the Indy 500.
Having topped the concluding session of Monday’s official pre-event test at the speedway, Rosenqvist carried a buoyant mood into race week, hoping to put on a strong performance on home soil for Belardi Auto Racing.
Things literally got off to a stormy start, however, when heavy rain struck the area on Thursday, cutting practice short and eventually necessitating subsequent qualifying to be cancelled altogether. Instead, a decision was made to base the grid for Friday’s race – arguably the most prestigious on the Indy Lights calendar – on championship standings, leaving Rosenqvist sixth – and still very much in the running for victory.
It was not to be, however, as he struggled for pace around the 2.5-mile oval, leaving him in ninth place by the fall of the chequered flag.
“It’s a disappointing result for all of us in the team today, but there just wasn’t much I could do,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I’ve had some engine problems this week, which again played a part in the race, and I also think we have an issue on the car itself. We set it up for understeer, but the balance was dramatically the opposite and I was sliding way too much in traffic and on my own. That said, I know there are four or five guys out there who are stronger racers on ovals at the moment, so I don’t want to take anything away from them. I can confidently say that we’re better than this, though, so we will take a thorough look at everything and try to fight back in the next one.”
Belardi Auto Racing are currently investigating the cause of Rosenqvist’s suspected problems, which came in a race which featured the closest finish in the history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Dean Stoneman (UK) winning by 0.0024 seconds from Ed Jones (UAE).
Following an intense start to the season, with seven weekends of racing contested over the last two months, Felix Rosenqvist can now look ahead to a small but well-needed break. Next up on his 2016 calendar is another round of Indy Lights, as the championship heads for Wisconsin’s Road America on June 24-26.
Indy Lights | Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Indiana, USA)
1: Dean Stoneman (GBR)
2: Ed Jones (UAE)
3: Dalton Kellett (CAN)
4: Shelby Blackstock (USA)
5: Scott Hargrove (CAN)
9: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE)
Indy Lights | After 8 of 18 races
1: Ed Jones (UAE), 185 p.
2: Dean Stoneman (GBR), 156 p.
3: Santiago Urrutia (URU), 146 p.
4: Kyle Kaiser (USA), 144 p.
5: Félix Serrallés (PRI), 140 p.
6: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 120 p.