Ericsson takes Indy GP’s top spot amid start time change
Ericsson takes Indy GP’s top spot amid start time change

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson posted the fastest lap in the IndyCar Grand Prix’s final practice session Saturday, completing Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course in 1 minute, 11.0839 seconds.

He qualified 18th for Saturday’s race, which will start about 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled. Race organizers moved the start time because of the possibility of late afternoon rain.

Ericsson eclipsed rookie Callum Illot late in the session, breaking what had been Chevrolet’s dominant performance in Friday’s qualifying. Six of the top seven spots, including pole winner Will Power, use Chevy’s. The English-born Illot went 1:11.1979 in his Chevy-powered car for Juncos Hollinger Racing.

But Ericsson drove his Honda to the top of the speed chart for team owner Chip Ganassi. Honda took four of the top six spots on a warm, humid day in Indianapolis. None of the 27 drivers on the starting grid used red tires and many worry that without rain, tire wear will be a key factor in the race.

Power was ninth in practice, less than 24 hours after winning his 64th career pole and moving within three of matching Mario Andretti’s IndyCar record. This is the sixth time Power will start from the No. 1 spot on Indy’s road course, and he won four of the previous five times. The Australian also is attempting to win a record fourth Indy GP crown — his first since 2018 — for series powerhouse Team Penske.

Defending series champion and current points leader Alex Palou was eighth Saturday. The Spaniard will start second in the race and drives for Ganassi.