Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard scored his second NTT P1 Award of the season at the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. The ane set a fastest time of 01:04.1567s and speaking following the action he said:
I wasn’t sure we were going to advance [into final qualifying], but then we put on a new set of [rain tires] and made it through on that final lap. Then, in Fast Six, we did one lap on rains and my race engineer made the decision to go to sticker alternate tires, rather than the used ‘greens’ we had planned. I think that was the right decision, so the team really won the pole for us today. We just nailed the strategy throughout qualifying. I don’t think I made it happen today, they did.”
Lundaard went on to say:
Today was a good day for the VIVID Clear RX / Hy-Vee team! It was definitely tricky (track going from dry to wet, and back). I aborted my first run in Q1 because I did feel the rain would prevent anyone from improving (on lap times set in dry conditions). It was the right choice to take then. And then Q2 was wet and we made it through. We took the position to go on another set of tires there as well. We’ve been competitive and we’re moving forward. We’ve had two good races the last two races as well. The crew has been nailing it, I have been nailing it as well so we’re looking good for tomorrow.
“I think when I woke up this morning, I was just hoping we were going to make improvements from yesterday, from 17th yesterday. To end the day like this I didn’t quite expect, but RLL has just been smashing it, quite honestly. I know the past few race weekends we’ve been moving forward, and we’ve been making progress on the side as well from my test at Iowa. Let’s just see what the rest of the season brings. It starts well now, so we’ll keep moving. The Hy-Vee Vivid Car team made it happen today. I don’t think I did. I think they did.”
Speaking to Paddock Eye during a media call following qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto about his expectations for the race ahead on Sunday, Lundgaard said:
I mean, I wouldn’t be disappointed with a win. We do lead the field off, but it’s tough.
I think the progression that we made just looking at Detroit, we were absolutely nowhere, and we come here, and we were on pole. It’s two different street circuits, but they’re very bumpy, and there’s a lot of concrete patches here. There’s a lot of concrete patches in Detroit as well.
It’s certainly something that we need to figure out how to just understand that and have a better package. Clearly we were quick enough today, so the Honda Vivid Car will definitely try to win the race tomorrow, for sure.
Jack Harvey starts the race from 19th place on the grid and speaking following the action he commented saying:
We were just a little unfortunate with the rain honestly. The tire strategy we had tried to execute I think was going to work out very well and then we probably just missed the rain by about half a lap. So, it is just kind of unfortunate really. I think we definitely need to work on activating the tire sooner because we definitely struggle in the first three laps. With a session like that, those laps are really important. Wish we didn’t have a bump. I think the pace has been alright this weekend as a whole so I certainly expect us to move forward in the race.
“It seemed like that was the last part of the track that was drying. Even in the end in qualifying, Turn 8 looked pretty wet still and then we were obviously seeing plenty of people spinning out there. I don’t know about Turn 9 though. I didn’t really get to drive in the rain because as soon as it rained, we pit because we weren’t going to improve. I think street circuits are always tricky. Especially in Toronto when there’s like four different types of pavement across the track it’s pretty difficult to judge. We will see what tomorrow brings.”
It was a difficult session for Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda as he starts the race from the back of the grid in 27th place with a time of 01:29.3774s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
I just made two mistakes in Turn 7 on power down. The second time, I short-shifted up and she felt hooked up and just gave up. Ultimately, I don’t know if we could have made it when we went back out after the first spin. It depends on how much quicker the track was getting. I’m not sure we had a .74 in it but it’s slippery out there. Visibility was actually pretty good. I thought everything with the aero screen was much improved. But I’m certainly disappointed in the end result. It should’ve been a better result than that.
“Well, it’s (wet conditions) a major challenge for everybody ultimately. Starting at the front of the pit lane, I thought it was going to be a good advantage and it was. It was obviously up until the time of our first half spin, we were P2. But obviously, it derailed the whole session. I’m disappointed for United Rentals and will try to get some feedback to Christian and see what he can come up with and see if he can improve. It’s obviously done raining now so it should dry up and get pretty interesting here at the end.”