Rossi leads the opening of IndyCar practice in Toronto

The return of IndyCar to the streets of Toronto after a two-year hiatus Andretti Autosports primed up-and-coming Alexander Rossi for the task as he became the fastest driver in the 25-car field with a lap of 1m00.6090s in the #27 Honda.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud followed Rossi with a 1:00.6991 lap in his No. 60 Honda, and a happy Graham Rahal ended up with a 1:00.7031 lap in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda #15 in third place. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson in his No. 8 start took four Hondas in a row to the top of the list with a 1:00.7262, and first from the Chevy brigade was Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 car, Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix had Rosenqvist in tow with the #7 Chevy’s 1m00.7936s.

“It was a really good first practice,” said Pagenaud, the defending champion of the race. “We still have a lot to do; I want to take the car to another level. I love this track man.”

After a productive test at Sebring, Rahal was content to be at the front of the field.

“We would have liked to have seen more pace on the reds than we got from it, but we also finished in the top three,” he said. “I like to see the boys smiling again. Everyone worked very hard to get here so it’s nice.”

Fastest of the Toronto IndyCar rookies was CGR’s Alex Palou in 10th, and generally speaking, championship contenders like Palou, Penske’s Scott McLaughlin in 15th and Pato O’Ward in 20th are expected to get more out of themselves and theirs afterwards Cars pull out a night to digest everything they picked up on Friday.

The NTT IndyCar Series starter also arrived in Toronto ready to wave the red flag, which was unfurled three times as a grid full of veterans and rookies learned or gained through an increasing number of incidents that developed during the session. got used to the track again.

While the group of rookies took to the track while the veterans waited for Firestone rubber to be incorporated into the track surface, the first fast lap belonged to Palou, who registered a 1:03 minute lap before the first delay in the Approximately 75-minute session With 43 minutes to go, the AMR safety team was dispatched to inspect a section of the renewed track at Turn 2.

As the track returned to green, a flurry of fast laps ensued as Felix Rosenqvist improved the lead to a 1’01.3015 lap, edging out Rossi who was just 0.0053s back in second place.

Just before the next red flag was waved, 30 minutes before Callum Ilott crashed at Turn 1, which broke the front wings from the nose of his car and damaged the left front suspension, Graham Rahal set the best lap of 1:01.2189 minutes.

Just over 20 minutes remained as the cars rejoined the track and within a few laps another red was required to get Jimmie Johnson to turn and fire again after a spin and stall. With 15 minutes to go the green flew again and with the new rule whereby Firestone’s faster alternative tires are only made available in the first few sessions – rather than the second session which leads into qualifying – the field ventured out qualifying simulations on red to perform. banded rubber.

Helio Castroneves jumped up the timesheets first and finished second with a 1’01.2454s to separate Rahal and Rosenqvist and from there Palou took P1 with a 1’01.1376s. Rosenqvist responded seconds later with a 1’00.7936 and briefly retained first place before Alexander Rossi increased the lead to 1’00.6090. Ericsson jumped to P2 with a 1:00.7262 lap and Newgarden almost got P3 with a 1:00.7262 lap.

Rahal rejoined the fray with six minutes to go to claim P2 with a 1’00.7031. Pagenaud passed Rahal by 1:00.6991 and with four minutes left the leaders were Rossi, Pagenaud, Rahal, Ericsson, Newgarden and Rosenqvist as Castroneves hit the tires and struggled to find reverse. The AMR team stopped the car and arrived on site to solve the problem.

Drivers were given 1:53 to try and complete another lap or two before the session ended, but no improvements were made in the top six.

RESULTS

NEXT: Exercise 2, 10 p.m. ET

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