Felix Rosenqvist set a new Indy Lights lap record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Grand Prix layout this weekend, but was still left with a feeling of what could have been at the famous American venue.
Rosenqvist headed into the meeting hoping to strike back from the difficulties of Alabama last time out, which included the Swede being punted off when running third in the opening race of that weekend. The reigning FIA F3 European champion duly replied by going second fastest in Friday qualifying in Indiana, finishing fourth in the subsequent Race 1.
Saturday got off to an even more promising start, with Rosenqvist topping the warm-up session by a comfortable 0.265 seconds. Starting from fourth on the grid, the 24-year-old therefore went into the weekend-concluding Race 2 as one of the main contenders for victory.
Things, however, would not pan out according to plan. After rising to second thanks to a strong start, Rosenqvist was sent into an unfortunate spin by Belardi Auto Racing team-mate Zach Veach further around the opening lap, dropping him down the order and out of podium contention.
Picking his way back up through the field, Rosenqvist then staged an imposing recovery drive to finish sixth, just 4.5 seconds behind race winner Dean Stoneman (UK). In doing so, the Swede underpinned his pace by shattering the Indy Lights lap record, previously held by ex-Formula 1 driver Max Chilton, by seven tenths of a second.
“This was a really strong weekend for us in terms of pace, but we can’t be satisfied with the end result,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s great to have set a new lap record, but fourth and sixth isn’t what we’re aiming for – and we know there was a lot more in it this weekend. Zach and I colliding is obviously particularly tough, but credit to him for apologising afterwards; mistakes happen and we’ll be back stronger next time around. We have proven that we belong at the very sharp end of this championship, and we’ve taken a step in the right direction since Alabama.”
The next round of the season is just two weeks away, with Rosenqvist and his rivals returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26-27. By then, however, the Grand Prix version of the track will give way to the famous 2.5-mile oval, as Indy Lights headlines the support bill for the gargantuan 100th running of IndyCar’s Indy 500. All grandstand tickets have been sold out for the event, with an estimated 350 000 people expected to join the celebrations at the world’s highest-capacity sports venue.
Indy Lights | Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Indiana, USA)
1: Dean Stoneman (GBR)
2: Santiago Urrutia (URU)
3: Kyle Kaiser (USA)
4: Ed Jones (UAE)
5: Félix Serrallés (PRI)
6: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE) – new lap record
1: Ed Jones (UAE)
2: Santiago Urrutia (URU)
3: Dean Stoneman (GBR)
4: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE)
5: Zach Veach (USA)
Indy Lights | After 7/18 races
1: Ed Jones (UAE), 160 p.
2: Santiago Urrutia (URU), 139 p.
3: Kyle Kaiser (USA), 139 p.
4: Félix Serrallés (PRI), 125 p.
5: Dean Stoneman (GBR), 125 p.
6: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 108 p.