Lundqvist on Course for Podium on Oval Debut
 August 22, 2021| 
  • Team News
  • Solid P2 result undone by tyre issue
  • Swede pitched into high-speed crash but recovers in spare car   
  • List-topping practice pace shows oval promise 

Linus Lundqvist was on course for a solid podium in his first-ever oval race as the Indy Lights season reached World Wide Technology Raceway this weekend, only to see his hopes crushed against the wall after a tyre issue.

Lundqvist showcased encouraging pace around the 1.25-mile track on his first taste of oval racing, setting the pace in Friday practice.

The Swede then agreed he'd taken a slightly too conservative approach into qualifying, although fourth and fifth on the grid for the two races still put him right amongst his more experienced rivals. 

In Race 1, Lundqvist snatched the opportunity straight away at the start, overtaking two cars - including title rival Kyle Kirkwood - to haul himself into P2 behind Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports team-mate David Malukas.

Disaster struck in frustrating fashion on lap 59 of 75, however, when the likely podium charge was brutally derailed.

Suffering a right-front tyre issue on the run towards Turn 3, Lundqvist was sent hard into outside wall, retiring on the spot but escaping any bodily injury.

Malukas duly went on to win, while Kirkwood was promoted to second, dealing a substantial blow to Lundqvist’s title hopes.

"That was a tough one to take," says Linus Lundqvist. "I felt like I was doing one of my best races, in my first start on an oval, and that podium would have been such an important result. I came down the back straight into Turn 3 and the tyre just went. It was probably the hardest hit of my career, but I'm all OK. It’s a disappointing end, but in terms of execution of my first oval race, at least I couldn’t have done much more.”

Following investigations after the crash, it was found that the original car had sustained substantial damage with a need for external post-event assessment.

As a consequence, Lundqvist was moved into the team's spare car - the chassis previously raced by Nikita Lastochkin this season - for Saturday's activities.

Despite jumping into a different car, Lundqvist was quickly back up to speed and wrapped up the weekend with fourth place in the concluding Race 2.

"Given the circumstances, I think P4 was a decent result today," Linus Lundqvist concludes. "The team worked hard, first on the original car and then to set up the spare one for racing in a very short time frame. Thanks to all the guys for their efforts. 

"All in all, it's been mixed feelings this weekend, and it was a lost opportunity in many ways. Still, I'm actually really pleased with my pace in my first oval event ever, and it has been fun. Long-term looking to the future, I think it's important to be comfortable on the ovals and I've had a really good introduction to that."

Linus Lundqvist now sits 59 points off championship leader Malukas in the overall title race, maintaining third place in the standings. 

The next round of the 2021 Indy Lights campaign is staged at Portland on September 10-12.

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