Los Angeles (AFP)

The reigning champion Josef Newgarden (Penske) of the United States won the first pole position of the IndyCar season on Saturday, dominating the qualifications of the Fort Worth (Texas) Grand Prix, held in camera, coronavirus forces.

Newgarden, crowned in 2017 and 2019, was the fastest on this oval circuit of Texas Motor Speedway, where he won last year with a time of 48 sec 0578 / 1000e over two laps.

He must start in the evening just in front of two of his most serious rivals, the New Zealander Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi), 2nd, and the French Simon Pagenaud (Penske), 3rd, who also has great ambitions, in particular to keep his crowns the prestigious Indianapolis 500 Miles in August.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised, I knew the car would be fast. But I didn't know if it would be fast enough to finish faster than Dixon," said Newgarden.

The American Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti) achieved the 4th time, proof that the usual favorites are at the rendezvous at the opening of this championship like no other this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has indeed forced IndyCar to cancel seven events and to concentrate on a single day of free practice in the morning, qualification in the afternoon and race in the evening.

Temperature reading, wearing a mask and physical distance are part of the health protocols implemented for the minimum number of authorized personnel in the paddock.

Fort Worth Grand Prix Qualification Rankings:

1. Josef Newgarden (USA / Penske) 48.0578

2. Scott Dixon (NZL / Chip Ganassi) 48.0806

3. Simon Pagenaud (FRA / Penske) 48.1193

4. Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA / Andretti) 48.3783

5. Zach Veach (USA / Andretti) 48.4530

6. Will Power (AUS / Penske) 48.4645

7. Graham Rahal (USA / Rahal Letterman Lanigan) 48.4645

8. Alexander Rossi (USA / Herta Andretti) 48.5191

9. Felix Rosenqvist (SWE / Chip Ganassi Racing) 48.5484

10. Tony Kanaan (BRA / AJ Foyt) 48.5876


© 2020 AFP