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Rossi Tops In Toronto As NTT INDYCAR SERIES Back In Canada

Rossi Tops In Toronto As NTT INDYCAR SERIES Back In Canada

Alexander Rossi was the fastest driver in the opening laps of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on the streets of Toronto in three years, completing Friday’s first free practice session for the Honda Indy Toronto.

Rossi set a top lap of 1 minute 0.6090 seconds in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda on the temporary road circuit of 11 corners and 1.786 miles around Exhibition Place in Canada’s largest city. This annual event was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TO SEE: Practice results

2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud finished second, less than a tenth of a second behind fellow Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi. Pagenaud’s best lap in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda was 1:00.6991. Pagenaud was the last winner of the Honda Indy Toronto, in 2019.

“We still have some work to do,” Pagenaud said. “I would like to take the car to another level. That round cost me a lot of energy. Above all, we need to figure out how to improve the rear.

“I love this song. This part before the pits is just… for a driver you need precision, and you have to be on it and so intense. It’s a lot of fun.”

Graham Rahal finished third at 01:00.7031 in the number 15 United Rentals Honda, a bright spot in a difficult season so far marked by a best finish of seventh.

“After the Sebring test, I thought it would translate well to here,” Rahal said. “The setup that we went with and came from there is what we started here. She was pretty good from the start. It is very satisfying to see the boys smiling again.”

NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader Marcus Ericsson was fourth at 1:00.7262 in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Josef Newgarden, two-time series champion and two-time winner of Toronto, completed the top five and was the fastest driver with Chevrolet engine at 01:00.7650 in the number 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.

Three drivers – rookie Callum Ilott and veterans Jimmie Johnson and Helio Castroneves – made light contact with the concrete barriers along the track during practice. Their cars sustained minor damage and all three drivers were uninjured.

Still, the 75-minute session was remarkably clean and competitive, as only 12 of the 25 drivers who took part this weekend raced in an INDYCAR SERIES event on this tight, challenging track with varying levels of grip due to different road surfaces. Less than a second separated the top 17 drivers in practice today.

Practice continues at 10 a.m. (ET) Saturday, followed by three rounds of the NTT P1 Award qualifier at 2 p.m. Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network will broadcast both sessions live.

A warm-up and the 85-lap race are scheduled for Sunday. Live, exclusive coverage of the race begins at 3 p.m. on Peacock Premium – with limited commercial interruptions – and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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