Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Palou doubted the “risky” strategy en path to victory within the Laguna Seca IndyCar

Chip Ganassi Racing's Alex Palou admitted he questioned strategist Barry Wanser midway through Sunday's Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, but he trusted the method and secured the victory.

The Palou field winner lost his lead after front-row mate Kyle Kirkwood made a strong outside pass on the opening lap to take the lead into Turn 2, before dropping to fourth after the primary round of pitstops.

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Following the primary full-track caution of the race, the 27-year-old Spaniard was thrown off the track and put into the lead when his rivals pitted again.

While those that stopped were thrown right into a more conservative approach to saving fuel, Palou picked up the pace and was capable of gain a bonus within the race.

Despite three restarts in the ultimate 20 laps, Palou successfully defended his lead to assert his second victory of the season and the points lead.

“It was risky,” Palou said of staying outside in the course of the first warning. “We knew we had a automotive in P1. I used to be on P4 then. I mean, yes, ending P4 today was not a great race.

“I see what [Wanser] he did. I assumed, “Oh man, I'm the only one.” [on this strategy] Here'. Of course, this just isn’t the popular way. At first I used to be somewhat doubtful.

“At the identical time, I knew they knew the numbers a lot better. They trusted me to go fast. I even have a whole lot of faith. As a driver, you usually doubt the whole lot. Just in case something goes mistaken, I can say, “I knew it!”

“When I saw everyone coming in, I asked, 'Are we sure this is sweet?' If it didn't go well, I could say, “I told you so.” If the whole lot went well, I could say, “Yes, you did a good job.”

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Colton Herta, Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian Honda, Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, podium

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Colton Herta, Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian Honda, Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, podium

Photo: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport images

However, his uncertainty didn’t last long because the plan of attack was put into motion because of his favorite tire strategy: “We had really good pace. I feel we had a great strategy because we had primaries. Everyone around us was playing substitutes.

“I assumed, OK, this yellow color all the way in which around allows us to be on the identical page and I still have the very best and fastest tire to run on when nobody else has it.

“I only doubted because everyone got involved and I stayed away. I looked within the mirror and nobody was there until I saw Pato [O’Ward] AND [Romain] Grosjean, which were somewhat behind. Of course I assumed, “Oh, are we sure?”

“I only had one question. As soon as they said we had to go fast, I understood what we had to do. From that point on, it was just a game.”

This result marks his second victory on the historic track and fourth place on the rostrum in as many starts. During this time he also led for 166 of the 380 laps.

“I love this song,” Palou said. “When you like a track that much, I feel you get an additional that helps with the whole lot.

“The incontrovertible fact that we now have really good cars here helps quite a bit. For example, the tires show that we’re really good.

“This is the suitable track. You can't really make any mistakes. It means that you can push really hard. This just isn’t a fuel-saving race. Having those medium and fast corners was good for us.

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