Qualifying Report: Honda Indy Toronto

TORONTO (July 15, 2023)–Rain midway through qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto created an interesting scenario for AJ Foyt Racing as Benjamin Pedersen ran first in dry conditions for Group 1 and Santino Ferrucci in Group 2 ran in the rain.

The team struggled in practice yesterday but made some progress overnight as they were better on the primary tires in the morning practice session today. Unfortunately, qualifying was run on the alternates or in Ferrucci’s case, rain tires.

The rain came down relatively strong before Group 2 started and INDYCAR officials declared it a wet session so all of the teams switched to the rain tires.

“We need to qualify better,” said Ferrucci who will start 24th in the No. 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet.

“We looked better in practice and made some good strides. Honestly, finding two-tenths to break into the top-10 was something that I think was going to be doable for us. With the rain, it exposed our weaknesses in our car, which is unfortunate because I couldn’t do anything about it other than being a passenger. I’m really upset, the fact that we couldn’t get it sorted. I’ve come from behind here before to finish 11th, so I’m sure we can have good strategy. Our racecar is actually pretty decent. We seem not to be killing the tires. Our third and fourth runs on the primary tires actually have been really good. I think we’ll be able to hang in there, pass some cars and try and move forward into the top-15.”

For Pedersen, who did both runs on the alternate compound tires, his car was not quite as fast relative to the others as it was on the primary compound tires earlier in the day.

“We’re just trying to figure out where we lost a bit of relative speed compared to practice 2,” said Pedersen, who will start 25th in the No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet.

“Obviously in practice 2, we didn’t run the alternates, just the primaries, but then for some reason in qualifying when we put the alternates on, we just lost pace and overall grip compared to the primary, so we’re just trying to understand that. It looked like our teammate in the other group, despite it being wet, was struggling with the same things with overall grip so yeah, it’s very difficult. We’re just trying to get it in the window. It just seems very fragile right now; if you don’t get one element right on the setup, it just kind of causes the car to struggle a lot. Then when we managed to get everything close, it’s just barely hanging on. So yeah, working really hard to get it right for the race. That’s where it matters. We’re going to be starting near each other, Santino and I, and hopefully it’s dry, and we can charge forward and just have a clean race.”

Christian Lundgaard won the NTT P1 Award with a lap time of 1 minute, 4.1567 seconds (100.217mph). Rounding out the Firestone Fast 6 were Scott McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward, Marcus Ericsson, Felix Rosenqvist and Will Power.

The Honda Indy Toronto will be streamed live on Peacock and IndycarLive.com tomorrow starting at 1:30 p.m. ET.