Pagenaud fastest in eventful second Toronto practice

Image by LePage/LAT

Pagenaud fastest in eventful second Toronto practice


Pagenaud fastest in eventful second Toronto practice


Simon Pagenaud took the honors in a scrappy second NTT IndyCar Series practice session around the streets of Toronto on Friday.

The Indy 500 winner planted the No.22 Team Penske Chevy at the top relatively early on, and until the final few minutes his 59.8708s was the only lap under the 1m barrier. Once the rest of the field began playing with the Firestone reds that gap began to shrink, with Ganassi’s Felix Rosenqvist ultimately coming closest to unseating the Frenchman with his 59.9311s.

“The car was really good rolling off the truck so that’s always helpful; it gives you confidence,” said Rosenqvist, whose teammate Scott Dixon had set the pace in the morning session.

“But it’s been a messy day with traffic and stuff, so I don’t think anyone really had a smooth run. I did my time on I-don’t-know-how-many-laps-old reds.”

Sebastien Bourdais was just 0.05s off the Swede to finish as the only other driver in the 59s range, leaving Spencer Pigot and Dixon to round out the top five.

Once again, Turn 11 proved to be a challenge. A large patch of zero-grip epoxy right across the racing line had tripped up several drivers during the morning, and claimed its first afternoon victim within the opening couple of minutes when Alexander Rossi touched the outside wall. He got away with that one, but was less lucky 10 minutes later when an encounter with the barrier at Turn 5 sent him into the pits for repairs.

It was a similar story almost immediately afterwards for Arrow SPM rookie Marcus Ericsson, who survived a brush with the concrete at Turn 11 but then later did a more comprehensive job of it at Turn 5, forcing him to visit the team for some attention to his right front and assorted bodywork.

The worst of the luck was reserved for Takuma Sato. He’d escaped a moment at Turn 11 during the morning, but just three laps into his afternoon program he pounded the barriers hard enough to end his participation in the session.