Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi entered qualifying for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 as a threat to make the Fast Nine Pole Shootout.
Although he just missed out on the Top 9 after Saturday qualifying, he still looked like a strong bet to qualify on the inside of Row 4 in tenth on Sunday.
But, after a decent Lap 1 at 227.454 mph, the handling on Rossi’s No. 98 Napa Auto Parts Honda took a nose dive – his next laps were 226.608 mph, 224.152 mph, and 221.619 mph.
At the end of four laps, his average was 224.935 mph, only good enough for 32nd, the middle of the last row.
Although disappointed, Rossi explained that he and the team will now have to embrace the challenge of starting on the last row.
“We’ll look into (what went wrong), but that’s what makes this place what it is. We saw yesterday there are a lot of curveballs that are unexpected around here. Starting this far back is a new challenge and a new opportunity to show what we can do. I have a lot of experienced people around me who have had a lot of starts here – some at the front, some at the back, so I’ll lean on them and we’ll go forward from there.”
Overshadowed by a horrific crash involving Sophia Floersch was the fact that 19-year-old Dan Ticktum dominated and won the Macau Grand Prix – a victory that puts him closer to earning the superlicence required to allow him to race with Formula 1, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Ticktum won Macau’s qualification race as well as the Grand Prix, starting first in both events. For his victories, he earned 10 points, which combined with 25 for his runner-up finish in the European F3 Championship leaves him just five below the 40 needed for the license.
This was Ticktum’s second Macau Grand Prix victory.
“It was a dominant performance that I was preparing for,” Ticktum said on his web site. “I don’t think I’ve ever prepared as hard as I did for this race and it all worked out. In the final race a lot of variables were thrown at me but I handled them.”
On his way to victory lane, Ticktum had to survive several restarts including the lengthy red flag period following Floersch’s accident to repair the barrier.
“I can’t count how many safety car restarts we had to do,” Ticktum said. “It puts a lot of pressure on a driver here with such a long run down to the first corner. I can’t remember a weekend when I’ve put it all together so well.
“The car was absolutely perfect all weekend, it was so good and I can’t thank Motopark enough for that. I’ve never been so involved in the set-up, felt so at one with the car as I did this weekend.”