Colton Herta wins IndyCar pole position again at Laguna Seca; Alex Palou fourth

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Colton Herta won his second consecutive NTT IndyCar Series pole position at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, outqualifying teammate Alexander Rossi as Andretti Autosport Hondas swept the front row Saturday.

Will Power qualified third in the No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet, followed by points leader Alex Palou and Oliver Askew, who made the Fast Six for only the second time in his career and in his second start with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

It was the series-leading third pole position of the season for Herta’s No. 26 Dallara-Honda, which led the most laps in its previous two starts from first (including a victory in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg).

INDYCAR AT LAGUNA SECADetails for watching Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monterey

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the order by rows for Sunday’s race

Herta’s pole-winning time came on his third and final qualifying lap around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course during the Fast Six session.

“I’m glad we ended up doing three because I guess two wasn’t enough,” Herta said. “I really got to nail that third lap. The Gainbridge car was awesome, awesome being powered by Honda. What an amazing track. I love this place so much. Two for two for poles here.”

Herta led 83 of 90 laps in his 2019 victory at Laguna Seca. His father, Bryan, also qualified first at Laguna Seca in 1997 and won at the track in ’98 and ’99 (and now serves as Colton’s strategist).

Pato O’Ward, who trails Palou by 25 points entering Sunday’s race, qualified sixth as only two championship contenders made the final round of qualifying.

O’Ward avoided damage to his No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet after spinning during the final round of qualifying.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for Laguna Seca qualifying results | Round 1, Group 1 | Round 1, Group 2 Round 2 l Round 3

PRACTICE: Session I l Session II

“This was our maximization,” O’Ward said. “The best we did in practice was 20th just because we were all over the place. We didn’t really have the balance correctly, and I’m happy with sixth. Fifth obviously, would have been better, but I was pushing just to try to get every ounce out of the car.

“We made it to the Fast Six, which seemed kind of like a long haul for us going into qualifying, but we accomplished it. So, I’m happy with the changes that we made. Now we need to make the race car go faster and see what we can do in the race.”

Palou’s spin also had an impact on Power, who lost his quickest lap (which would have been second) because of a ruling he didn’t slow down for the local yellow in the Corkscrew turn.

Josef Newgarden, who topped practice Friday, will start 17th after being eliminated in first-round qualifying for the second consecutive week. The Team Penske driver trails Palou by 34 points.

“Obviously, not the result we were looking for,” Newgarden said. “We showed good pace yesterday and were on the right path this morning, but we just missed in qualifying. Unfortunate as we’ve made things more difficult for ourselves. Regardless, we’re focused on doing everything we can to move forward and we’ll be ready to get to work tomorrow.”

Marcus Ericsson (75 points behind) and Scott Dixon (49) qualified together on the fourth row as the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers tried to maintain long-shot title bids to catch their teammate Palou.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.