Lundqvist leaned into British F3 experience for wet Road America pole

Linus Lundqvist’s pole position for the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America was an outlier in other ways than just being the Swede’s first career pole in the NTT IndyCar Series. It came in a wet qualifying session that caught out a number of the series’ most experienced hands…and the Chip Ganassi Racing driver who mastered the conditions best said he had some useful experience to draw upon, despite this being his first full season of IndyCar racing.

“Yeah, it was hectic. It was crazy. I say one of the craziest qualifying sessions I’ve had,” said Lundqvist. “This feels like an average British F3 qualifying back in the day-type of style where it started off torrential rain, then the last part it dried up, we threw on the slicks. It was kind of fun going back to that, a little bit back to my roots. Even growing up back in Sweden, half the racing we did was in the rain. I’m pretty comfortable there.

“Obviously towards the end it was staying online, not touching the wet. That’s basically what I had in my mind. It happened to be good enough for pole.”


Others, notably Team Penske’s Will Power and Josef Newgarden, went over the line in the decisive Firestone Fast Six session, Power spinning off and Newgarden crashing heavily. But as Lundqvist pointed out, testing the limits was the only way to find them.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s so difficult because you still have to be committed,” he said. “To even get temps into the tires, when it’s these dry/wet conditions, you have to push super hard to get the tires up to temperature. To be fast as well, you’re going to have to approach it almost like a dry lap or a dry session. If you’re just one foot or even half a foot with your outside wheels, you’re going to go off. That’s also what makes these conditions so exciting, because it’s very rewarding when you do put it together, but it’s so easy to be a foot off or half a foot off, and obviously have the opposite.”

Sunday’s forecast calls for cloudy but dry conditions, yet Lundqvist noted the Road America circuit hadn’t only proven tricky in the wet this weekend.

“You’ve seen people go off. I think obviously in the wet it’s super tricky to stay on track, especially now towards the end where you just have one dry line. But even in the dry, people were going off,” Lundqvist said. “I think around this place, you usually don’t run that much downforce, which makes it a little bit tricky in the high-speed braking zones. I think it’s so easy to snatch a front right or front left — off you go.”

Story originally appeared on Racer