Grosjean feels 'alive again' after taking shock pole in 3rd IndyCar race

Indycar Racing News

Romain Grosjean took his first pole position in ten years and eight days at Indianapolis in just his third IndyCar qualifying session

Grosjean IndyCar Indianapolis

Romain Grosjean took his first pole position in ten years at Indianapolis

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Romain Grosjean has said he feels ‘alive again’ after stunning the IndyCar field by taking pole position at Indianapolis in only his third event in the series.

Lining up at the front for tonight’s GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis road course, it will be the first time the Frenchman has started an international race on pole since the opening round of 2011 GP2 Championship.

Grosjean, who migrated to IndyCar after having his F1 career curtailed by a terrifying crash in Bahrain, pipped Penske’s Josef Newgarden by 0.13sec in what was a typically close IndyCar qualifying session. Britain’s Jack Harvey lines up third, 0.2sec off the pole time.

Asked we what it was like being ‘competitive’ in a series once more, Grosjean was unequivocal in his answer.

“It’s like being alive again,” he replied. ‘And that’s what I came looking for. I love the atmosphere [in IndyCar], the drivers, the tracks, the cars are the fun to drive.’

‘I’m really happy. I’m happier than I’ve been for a very long time.’

Although the former F1 driver appreciated the ‘small victories’ in scoring points for Haas, he said scoring pole positions and challenging at the front was on another level.

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“Even through the last few years, which have been tough in terms of results, I take the example of Germany last year when we finished 9th, that was quite special,” he said. “German 2018, where we were 12th after the last saftey and we came through to finish 6th – that was quite cool.

“Even though you have a ‘feeling’ then, there is a feeling which I’d completely forgot about, [which is] when you get to a race weekend and you’ve got those butterflies because you know if you do everything right, you may end up on pole or trying to win the race.

“That’s definitely something I had no chance to do over the last few years.”

This was the first pole for Dale Coyne Racing since Sebastien Bourdais claimed first in qualifying at Phoenix in 2018. Grosjean’s delighted team boss Dale Coyne stated that he always knew his new signing had the ability – the ten-time F1 podium-finisher just needed to equipment to show what he could do.

“When you look at his resume and how great he was before he got into Formula One, and Formula One is such a team performance issue, we knew he could win races and we knew he could win poles,” Coyne said. “He’s proven it today.”

The GMR Grand Prix begins at 7:30pm BST. The Sky F1 channel will be broadcasting the race, with coverage beginning at 7pm.