Palou leads Ilott in opening Indy GP practice

Gavin Baker/Lumen

Palou leads Ilott in opening Indy GP practice


Palou leads Ilott in opening Indy GP practice


Alex Palou took the top spot in the first practice session for Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix on the last lap of the 45-minute outing, taking the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to a best lap of 1m10.4555s to edge Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott in the No. 77 Chevy (+0.0038s) by the tiniest of margins as they closed the session on new-tire runs.

The CGR and JHR drivers motored ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power, who held the lead for most of the session (+0.0722s) in the No. 12 Chevy. The rest of the top six was completed by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No. 15 Honda (+0.1570s), Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 7 Chevy (+0.2553s) who set his best lap early and CGR’s Marcus Ericsson in the No. 8 Honda (+0.2568s).

Drivers and crews were greeted with a clear blue sky and temperatures near 80 degrees for the 9:30 a.m. session. Scott Dixon’s No. 9 CGR Honda was met by a brief convergence of pit lane safety workers after pitting for the first time. With new exhaust headers installed on his 2.2-liter twin-turbo V6, some of the heat rejection coating burned off as he came to a stop — giving the appearance of a fire emanating from the back of the car — but once the engine cover was removed, the issue was quickly resolved by the team.

A single red flag was displayed with 1m38s left to go as Meyer Shank Racing’s Helio Castroneves spun on entry to pit lane.


UP NEXT: Free Practice 2, 12:45 p.m. ET