Home Featured Debutant Lundqvist takes the first pole of Indy Lights’ return

Debutant Lundqvist takes the first pole of Indy Lights’ return

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography / Road to Indy

Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports’ Linus Lundqvist will start his Indy Lights debut from pole after topping the first qualifying session at Barber Motorsports Park.

It’s the first time qualifying has been held for the series since the 2019 season finale at Laguna Seca, after the 2020 season was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic after just one free practice session on the streets of St. Petersburg.

Reigning Formula Regional Americas champion Lundqvist topped the 30-minute qualifying with a 1m11.5149s in the final five minutes, eclipsing the track record, to snatch pole for his debut race on Saturday.

He overhauled HMD’s David Malukas, who spent the majority of the session towards the top of the timesheet and put in a mighty lap early on to go more than three tenths quicker than anybody else until that point.

Kyle Kirkwood, Indy Pro 2000 champion in 2019, will start from his long-awaited first race from third place after improving late on in the session to be the top Andretti Autosport driver.

GRG with HMD’s Benjamin Pedersen was fourth fastest, ahead of Juncos Racing’s Toby Sowery.

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport’s Devlin DeFrancesco improved in the final moments to take qualify sixth, and Alex Peroni was seventh for the new Carlin and Jay Howard Driver Development alliance.

Carlin is making a return to the series, while JHDD is new to this level of racing, and the second of their cars qualified 12th in the hands of Christian Bogle.

Reigning IP2000 champion Sting Ray Robb is to start ninth for Juncos, just behind Andretti’s Robert Megennis.

Danial Frost rounds out the top 10 for Andretti, after he had an off at turn 13, ahead of HMD’s Nikita Lastochkin.

The all-rookie combination of Pserra Racing and Antonio Serravalle was the last of the 13 runners, 1.6168 seconds off pole around the twisty Alabama circuit.

Qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Linus Lundqvist GRG w/ HMD 1m11.5149s 18
2 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1m11.6815s +0.1666s 18
3 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 1m11.8064s +0.2915s 16
4 Benjamin Pedersen GRG w/ HMD 1m11.8348s +0.3199s 17
5 Toby Sowery Juncos Racing 1m12.0785s +0.5636s 19
6 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 1m12.0929s +0.5780s 17
7 Alex Peroni Carlin w/ JHDD 1m12.1027s +0.5878s 20
8 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1m12.1351s +0.6202s 16
9 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Racing 1m12.3226s +0.8077s 19
10 Danial Frost Andretti Autosport 1m12.4111s +0.8962s 15
11 Nikita Lastochkin HMD Motorsports 1m12.6956s +1.1807s 20
12 Christian Bogle Carlin w/ JHDD 1m12.9317s +1.4168s 20
13 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing 1m13.1317s +1.6168s 21