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Malukas keeps Indy Lights title hopes alive with pole, Kirkwood crashes

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography/Road to Indy

David Malukas took a critical pole in the rain as Kyle Kirkwood crashed and will start fifth for the Indy Lights title decider.

Torrential conditions swept the circuit overnight and the cold track temperatures made conditions exceptionally difficult for the drivers in the 30-minute Sunday qualifying session.

It didn’t take long for the first of four red flag stoppages to occur, as Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports’ Benjamin Pedersen spun off at turn five.

Qualifying resumed with extra time on the clock to compensate, but it was not long before Carlin with Jay Howard Driver Development’s Christian Bogle also went off.

At that point, the clock started ticking despite the red flags. With 15 minutes to go, qualifying once more resumed and it was GRG’s Linus Lundqvist who initially put in the best effort, some 40 seconds slower than the laptimes set in the dry.

With nine minutes remaining, Andretti Autosport’s Kirkwood went off and broke his front wing. He lost his fastest lap until that point and therefore was sat all the way down in 11th for some time.

He was able to get repaired and get going once more, but drivers only had time to put in one or two more laps before HMD’s Manuel Sulaiman spun off, ending qualifying prematurely.

Malukas emerged on pole, and it meant that his narrow title hopes remain alive. But he still needs a perfect race and for Kirkwood to be dead last to win it.

Lundqvist and Pedersen were just behind Malukas, with Andretti Steinbrenner’s Devlin DeFrancesco the top of the Andretti-run cars in fourth.

Kirkwood recovered to finish fifth, ahead of team-mate Robert Megennis.

Juncos Hollinger Racing duo Rasmus Lindh and Sting Ray Robb fill out the fourth row, ahead of Andretti’s Danial Frost and Sulaiman.

Pserra Racing’s Antonio Serravalle and Bogle will be the last of the 12 runners for the finale – the latter not setting a representative time.

Qualifying results

Pos Name Team Time Gap Laps
1 David Malukas HMD Motorsports 1m46.7873s 8
2 Linus Lundqvist Global Racing Group w/ HMD 1m46.9953s +0.2080s 9
3 Benjamin Pedersen Global Racing Group w/ HMD 1m49.5369s +2.7496s 6
4 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 1m50.6520s +3.8647s 9
5 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Autosport 1m51.3490s +4.5617s 6
6 Robert Megennis Andretti Autosport 1m53.2443s +6.4570s 7
7 Rasmus Lindh Juncos Hollinger Racing 1m55.0460s +8.2587s 7
8 Sting Ray Robb Juncos Hollinger Racing 1m55.6824s +8.8951s 8
9 Danial Frost Andretti Autosport 1m56.1405s +9.3532s 8
10 Manuel Sulaiman HMD Motorsports 1m59.3821s +12.5948s 6
11 Antonio Serravalle Pserra Racing 2m25.5903s +38.8030s 7
12 Christian Bogle Carlin w/ JHDD 7m01.6032s +5m14.8159s 5