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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Indy Lights Indy GP: Lundqvist clinches win in interrupted Race 2

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Linus Lundqvist converted his pole into an early lead as a four-wide battle for second into Turn 1 filtered down to two, the Andretti Autosport pair of Matt Brabham and Christian Rasmussen, who battled through Turns 2 and 3 and into 7. Then Rasmussen dropped a wheel in the dirt as they ran alongside each other, and fell back.

He soon came under pressure from Danial Frost, Race 1 winner in another HMD / Coyne car, because Hunter McElrea had been the big loser on the opening lap, starting on the front row but winding up fifth in another Andretti machine. Behind him ran the Force Indy machine of Trans-Am legend Ernie Francis Jr, who had taken advantage of hesitations and clashes in the midfield to rise from 10th on the grid to sixth.

After 10 of the 35 laps, Lundqvist had a 2.3sec margin over Brabham, who in turn had 3.3 over Rasmussen. The Dane now had a 2sec margin over Frost who was having to watch his mirrors for the recovering McElrea. On Lap 12, McElrea got the pass done around the outside of Turn 10 and claimed fourth.

On Lap 14, the race was halted for lightning in the area (within eight miles) and officials took the decision to postpone the race, possibly to resume after the IndyCar race, which has been brought forward to start at 3.07pm (Eastern).

It resumed on a full wet track after the IndyCar race, and while Lundqvist made a strong getaway, Brabham was drafted by Rasmussen and McElrea, and when he turned in he drove over Frost’s front wing and cut a tire. Amazingly, it didn’t dislodge Frost’s wing but it did take off his nosecone.

Then Christian Bogle spun, bringing out the yellow. Following the restart, McElrea was demoted by the charging Benjamin Pedersen but James Roe spun into the sand trap at Turn 4 and needed rescuing.

On the Lap 23 restart, Pedersen went side by side with Frost through Turns 1, 2 and 3 before claiming third, and McElrea took the opportunity to also demote Frost and grab fourth. Then Pedersen and McElrea moved into second and third when Rasmussen outbraked himself into Turn 12 and had to hit the runoff zone. He did stay ahead of Frost, however, whose aero-compromised car was easy meat for Sting Ray Robb.

Rasmussen passed McElrea into Turn 1 on Lap 27 and then zapped past Pedersen down the front straight next time by.

However, he was now 4.9sec off Lundqvist with seven laps to go and while Rasmussen pulled a gap on Pedersen, he couldn’t close on Lundqvist at a fast enough rate. Robb then passed teammate McElrea for fourth at the start of Lap 30, closed on Pedersen and passed him down the front straight on Lap 31.

In the closing stages, Jacob Abel’s charge was the highlight, as he passed Kyffin Simpson, Frost and McElrea to claim fifth at the checkered flag.

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