Starts with a podium: Pato O’Ward takes second place in the first race of the IndyCar 2024 – La Opinion

Starts with a podium: Pato O’Ward takes second place in the first race of the IndyCar 2024 – La Opinion

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It was a good weekend for Mexican motorsports. One day after Checo Pérez took second place in the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix in Formula 1, the Aztec representative of IndyCar, Pato O’Ward He did not want to be left behind and did the same by obtaining a second place in the first race of the season 2024 championship.

The native of Monterrey, Nuevo León, reached the finish line only behind the American Josef Newgarden, of Team Penske, who recorded a time of 1:51’29; 8 minutes later, Pato, from the Arrow McLaren team, arrived, who he clocked 1:51’37; The podium was completed by Scott McLaughlin, also from Team Penske, with a time of 1:51’38.

It was a clean start, without incidents, nothing to do with what happened in the 2023 edition. O’Ward consolidated his place in the top positions by placing fourth. And Palou, the current champion, faced the challenge from thirteenth place and managed to come back to finish in sixth.

The pace set by Newgarden, also called “The King of the Ovals”, and Felix Rosenqvist (Meyer Shank) in the lead was very high. There were no big news or movements in the first quarter of the race: The initial 25 laps were far from the spectacle of shocks that an IndyCar race usually represents.

But the essence always returns and the first yellow flag came on lap 27 with Marcus Armstrong’s Chip Ganassi taking one of the protections, forcing him to abandon and, fortunately, without consequences for the other cars that were able to avoid him.

It was evident that everyone would take advantage of that first yellow to go through the pits. The speed of the rival mechanics hurt Newgarden, who fell behind Rosenqvist and Colton Herta (Andretti): both passed him and blocked the Penske at the exit to the track.

The Dane Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman) sacrificed his time in the pit in exchange for leading the race for a few laps, acting as a stopper for the fastest and bringing all the drivers together much more closely.

Palou and O’Ward ask for passage

O’Ward did his thing on lap 31 overtaking with great risk a Herta that was losing positions. The Mexican recovered fourth place and later third.

It was time to take risks for Newgarden, with new wheels, to try to reach the head of the race again. With Lundgaard returning to his natural position, Newgarden was the leader, with O’Ward close to him in second place and behind them Rosenqvist and McLaughlin chasing them less than a second behind.

Then the Swede Marcus Ericsson, champion in St. Pete in 2023, abandoned the race. His Andretti was losing power and positions, he went through the pits but they couldn’t fix it.

Later came the blow to the champion’s table, a Palou who took the risk of not stopping to change tires when everyone else did so with 36 laps to go. It was when he was seen higher than ever, race leader, scratching those points that IndyCar has for anyone who at some point is in the lead.

Once sacrificed with his visit to the mechanics, he was in seventh position and just a few seconds from the first. It was time to continue climbing positions. Meanwhile, he continued to be left without companions on the track, and Linus Lundqvist (Chip Ganassi) also nailed his car in exactly the same point where Armstrong did it previously: the same curve for the same yellow flag that grouped the race again. .

The Argentine Agustín Canapino (Juncos Hollinger), who always remained among the top twenty, caused a scare with 18 laps to go, going off the track but demonstrating his experience behind the wheel by compensating for the direction of the car and returning to the race.

He finished eighteenth and scored, something that his new teammate, the Frenchman Romain Grosjean, did not achieve when he abandoned.

Newgarden gave his rivals no options and each of the last ten laps was to extend his advantage, which reached more than six seconds. The battle was for second place between O’Ward and McLaughlin, who finished in that same order.

Pato O’Ward shows his award on social networks

The Mexican driver took time to share with his followers a couple of photos in which he is seen holding the trophy who won on the circuit.

Through your X account, O’Ward published “Good start to the season” and posed on the plane with the sculpture that credits him with second place in the race. On the silver plate you can see the date, the name of the circuit and the sponsor.

Keep reading:
· Pato O’Ward comes second and surpasses Checo Pérez in the Formula 1 postseason test
· Mexican Pato O’Ward keeps his dream of being a McLaren driver in Formula 1 alive
· Checo Pérez repeats second place in Formula 1, only behind Max Verstappen in the Saudi Arabia GP

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