Christian Lundgaard qualifies with an impressive 3rd place for the Portland Grand Prix
PORTLAND, Ore. — After setting the 19th fastest lap in Friday afternoon practice at Portland International Raceway, Christian Lundgaard and his crew improved the car to start third for Sunday’s Portland Grand Prix .
Lundgaard actually set the fourth-fastest qualifying lap for the penultimate race of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season. However, a six position penalty for Josef Newgarden for an unapproved engine change sent the Danish rookie up one position.
The #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda completed the 12-turn, 1.964-mile circuit in 58.4482 seconds, averaging 120.969 mph.
“We only made a slight change, really,” Lundgaard told TobyChristie.com. “It wasn’t much, but it was just one element. So making such a big difference may be a matter of driver confidence or just pure car performance. But I think the performance of the car has been there. All the while Graham was competitive here last year and it’s a similar setup so I’m trying to push further.
Lundgaard didn’t elaborate on what that setup change was, but it clearly worked in Saturday’s morning practice session. The 2017 Spanish F4 champion finished fifth in this session and second in afternoon practice, so there is reason for optimism in the RLL Racing camp.
Lundgaard is also vying for IndyCar Rookie of the Year with David Malukas. The Chicago native qualified 10th and is 11 points behind Lundgaard.
“I think the trend this year has been that we’ve been a bit stronger in race pace,” Lundgaard said just after qualifying. “We never know for tomorrow, I just have to do my thing and get the most out of the car and then see where we are. If he’s ahead, he’s ahead. If we’re ahead, we’re ahead. and that’s obviously a good thing for us, but we have to take each event at a time.