By Steve Wittich
HMD Motorsports/Global Racing Group teammates Linus Lundqvist and David Malukas spent the final five minutes of qualifying for the second race of the Indy Lights Grand Prix Of Detroit Presented By Cooper Tires twin bill when the already abbreviated session came to a premature end.
Lundqvist had just turned a lap timed at 83.5678 seconds when the red flag came out for an incident in the final corner in the last minute of the session.
Lundqvist told Rob Howden from the INDYCAR Radio Network that his Global Racing Group team certainly improved the package but that he also improved his driving.
Lundqvist’s seventh lap was 0.1609 seconds quicker than his teammate Malukas, securing his third pole of the season.
It’s the Swedish driver’s third pole of his rookie Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires season, the 19th over two seasons of North American junior open-wheel racing and the 35th in his worldwide junior open-wheel career.
After missing most of practice on Friday after an expensive crash in Turn 13, the 19-year-old Indy Lights sophomore will start on the front row for the sixth time this season.
Race #1 pole-sitter Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Autosport) will start behind Lundqvist on the inside of the second row and will be joined by his teammate Robert Megennis.
The third row will consist of a third Andretti Autosport driver Danial Frost and Juncos Racing veteran Toby Sowery.
The start of the qualifying session was delayed by two minutes for a slight issue with the pit in light. The green flag for the 20-minute session flew from the starter’s stand at 9:32 am. The ambient temperature was 73F, and the track temperature was 87F. Much different than the 83F and 114F during Friday’s qualifying session.
With a busy day scheduled for the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit, the session was set for 20 minutes instead of the standard 30 minutes. That would prove prophetic.
After only six minutes of action, the red flag came out for Antonio Serravalle and the LedgeMark Homes LivGreen/Tycoon Capital Limited No. 11 from the Pserra Racing stable.
The Canadian nosed his IL-15 into the tire barriers at the exit of Turn 6 after brushing the inside wall, which shot him wide and into the tire barriers. The Canadian got out of his car and the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team.
Only six drivers had turned exploratory laps when the bright red car of Serravalle had his incident, making the final half of the session vitally important.
The field was shown the green flag with only nine minutes remaining in the qualifying session. The dozen remaining drivers didn’t waste any time getting back on the track.
With six minutes remaining, Kyle Kirkwood, the pole sitter for Race #1, was the first driver to put in a hot lap, briefly grabbing the provisional pole.
Over the last five minutes of the session, teammates Malukas and Lundqvist traded the provisional pole multiple times, with the Andretti Autosport trio of Kirkwood, Megennis, and Frost unable to get their tires up to optimal pressure in the laps available.
With under one minute remaining in the session, after just turning the sixth quickest lap of the session, Devlin DeFrancesco made heavy contact with the concrete barrier at the exit of Turn 13, the tricky final corner of The Raceway On Belle Isle.
The Canadian was able to climb from his badly damaged PowerTap sponsored IL-15 from the Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport stable, but because he caused a red flag, he was penalized his quickest lap, falling down the timing screens to ninth.
The Andretti Autosport/Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport crew will have to flail to get the car prepared for Race #1, scheduled to roll off at 12:10 pm.
Indy Lights Grand Prix Of Detroit Presented By Cooper Tires qualifying results (unofficial)
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||FAST LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|1||26||Linus Lundqvist||Global Racing Group w/HMD Motorsports||1:23.5678||——|
|2||79||David Malukas||HMD Motorsports||1:23.7287||0.1609|
|3||28||Kyle Kirkwood||Andretti Autosport||1:23.9163||0.3485|
|4||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||1:24.3663||0.7985|
|5||68||Danial Frost||Andretti Autosport||1:24.5082||0.9404|
|6||51||Toby Sowery||Juncos Racing||1:24.6706||1.1028|
|7||24||Benjamin Pedersen||Global Racing Group wHMD Motorsports||1:24.6773||1.1095|
|9||17||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||1:25.0518||1.4840|
|10||59||Nikita Lastochkin||HMD Motorsports||1:25.2833||1.7155|
|11||2||Sting Ray Robb||Juncos Racing||1:25.4818||1.9140|
|13||11||Antonio Serravalle||Pserra Racing||1:31.6842||8.1164|