Fernando Alonso and McLaren fail to qualify for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 as Simon Pagenaud romps to a debut Pole Position.
With the media circus whipped into a frenzy around famous guest Fernando Alonso in his bid to secure the Motorsport ‘triple crown’ this May, it would be Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud who took the biggest bow at the brickyard, the former IndyCar champion securing his debut Indy 500 Pole, and with it becoming the first Frenchman to start from the front of the grid in over 100 years.
Much has been made of the return to the Brickyard for McLaren and Alonso this year, however a litany of errors and mechanical issues would blight the British team on the run up to qualification weekend, leaving both team and driver under no illusions as to the size of the task that awaited them to qualify for ‘the greatest spectacle in racing’ held at the end of the month.
Indy 500: Alonso Practice Woes HERE.
Taking to the circuit in a hastily prepared backup machine following Alonso’s big shunt earlier in the week, the papaya orange Dallara never looked like troubling the top runners throughout the weekend, down on speed and losing an alarming amount of lap time during the all important four lap runs, Alonso would be unable to do anything to salvage a result for the rookie squad during their popular return to the category.
Failing to lock into the top 30 on Saturday, all hopes of making the big show would rest on a Bump Day performance for the final three places on Sunday afternoon - something the team just failed to achieve after dropping outside the top 33 thanks to a dying moments effort from the smallest and arguably least funded outfit in the field - Juncos Racing and 23-year-old rookie Kyle Kaiser.
At the front of the grid the action would remain tense during the ‘Fast Nine’ qualification runs, with Penske driver Pagenaud putting together a near perfect performance to secure the pole ahead of Ed Carpenter and Spencer Pigot.
With the grid now set, minus Alonso, the race day preparations begin ahead of the big day this Sunday May 25th.
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