Lundgaard: Family will “have a heart attack” over grid position

IndyCar debutant Christian Lundgaard has admitted that neither he nor his family expected him to be so strong so soon, after qualifying fourth on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Lundgaard: Family will “have a heart attack” over grid position

Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda’s one-off hire Lundgaard was a strong factor in the hour-long practice session, and appeared completely unfazed by exploring the extra grip provided by the softer-compound Firestone ‘red’ tires.

The Formula 2 race-winner breezed through his Q1 Group 2 session, beaten only by Alexander Rossi, and in Q2 / Fast 12 (no Fast Six shootout at this race) he was embroiled in the fight for pole.

In an insanely tight battle, that saw the first five drivers covered by 0.0484sec around the 2.439-mile Indy road course, Lundgaard wound up fourth, 0.0198sec ahead of Colton Herta, and just 0.0015sec behind the last driver to take pole here, ex-F1 ace Romain Grosjean.

“Let's just say I didn't expect to be here now when I left home,” said Lundgaard. “I know my family is asleep right now. I guess they will have a heart attack when they wake up in the morning!

“I'm just super happy to be here. I'm enjoying every second of it. It's so different to Europe. Just seeing fans is amazing. We've had one or two races this year in Formula 2 where we've had fans [but] It's only half capacity. So to come here and see so many people near us is just awesome.”

Lundgaard, who first drove the #45 RLL-Honda in a day-long test at Barber Motorsports Park three weeks ago added: “I think it's looking good so far, but I didn't expect to be here now.

“I mean, after doing the test, I knew how the car was. But going into the test I did at Barber, I didn't know what to expect. But then figuring out that the car was fairly similar… Obviously it's slightly different. [But] a racecar is a racecar. So for me it's just about finding the limit of that car. It seems like I've found that pretty quickly.”

He later added: “Obviously the F2 car and the IndyCar are both built by Dallara. I think some of it is very similar. Just the way the car drives is not really that different. I think also that's why I got comfortable so quickly.”

Asked to compare IndyCar’s Firestone rubber with the Pirellis on his regular F2 mount, run by ART GP, Lundgaard remarked: “I think the drivers probably won't agree with me because they want the tires to come in faster, but these tires come in a lot quicker than what I'm used to. We basically do two warmup laps. We go out and do one, then we push for two laps, and that's it.

“Here, it's going straight out of the box. You basically want to push as hard as you can going straight out of the box. That's quite different to what I'm used to.

“I think I'll be struggling with getting straight out of the box and being sure I'm at the right braking point because I haven't got used to that because it's nothing that I've done before. That will probably be something to learn.”

Regarding the possibility of running another race for RLL, Lundgaard – an Alpine Academy driver – said again that he was regarding the situation as open for now.

“I think whatever the future brings, there is a lot of different options. I'm not going to say this isn't one of them. It definitely is. But there is also others.

“To come here to do this race I think is a good thing for us for the future, to be able to decide. I would say looking at the results and from the performance today, it probably looks bright for the future. But I'm not going to say it's going to be this. There's so many options.

“I mean, I'm here to explore. I'll probably also explore some other things later on.

“But I've still got half a season to go in F2. That's still where the focus is – to finish that season, be sure we improve the championship position we're in at the moment.”

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