Lundgaard announces IndyCar potential with stylish Toronto victory

The Dane took pole in drying conditions and then managed the race perfectly for his first win in the series

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Christian Lundgaard can finally shave off his moustache after he won his first NTT IndyCar Series race at the Grand Prix of Toronto.

The Danish driver took pole on Saturday in treacherous conditions and proved that his speed was no fluke, by comprehensively leading early on and then coolly working his way back to the front after mid-race cautions and a few pit gambles shuffled the pack.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan needed this win more than most teams on the grid after a terrible month of May and a missed opportunity at Mid-Ohio. Lundgaard‘s win is the team’s first since Takuma Sato‘s Indy 500 win in 2020 and a remarkable turnaround from their previous street course form.

The transfer merry-go-round may well kick into gear very soon and with performances like this in a smaller team, the likes of Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport have at least one seat available so they should have Lundgaard near the top of their summer shopping lists.

Lundgaard‘s winning margin was a large one as behind him came Alex Palou, the series leader, who had an *awful* finish of second after three successive wins coming into this weekend.

It was a superb drive by the Spaniard, though, as he completed the final stint under huge pressure from the chasing pack with a broken front wing after contact with the wall avoiding an incident ahead of him.

Colton Herta made use of the same strategy gamble as Palou to claim third but behind him, Will Power and Marcus Ericsson miscalculated their fuel and had to pit coming to the white flag.

Scott Dixon therefore claimed fourth after an incredible comeback drive with Josef Newgarden completing the top five.

Christian Lundgaard leads IndyCar 2023 Grand Prix of Toronto | Penske Entertainment: Travis Hinkle

Grosjean’s horrid season

Romain Grosjean might be an ex-Formula 1 driver but he is not finding IndyCar any easier than he found the world’s favourite motorsport. The Frenchman does have two second places at Long Beach and Barber to his name but it’s been a horrible season outside of that.

He was taken out of the season opener by Scott McLaughlin, in fairness, but he crashed all on his own at the Indy 500 and he did it again in Toronto, slamming into the wall after he claimed that a bump ripped the wheel out of his hands.

At a time when his Andretti Autosport contract is under review and the silly season just around the corner, the last thing he needed was to end his race early. There could be a lot of big moves to come from team to team and Grosjean‘s seat is far from secure with this current form.

Romain Grosjean at IndyCar 2023 Grand Prix of Toronto | Penske Entertainment: Travis Hinkle

Other cautions in the race came straight after Grosjean‘s crash as Kyle Kirkwood rear-ended Helio Castroneves at the restart, ending the Brazilian’s race.

Lap one also saw a big crash with several cars taken out and others put a lap down as the track was blocked. The field got through the chaos thanks to the escape road that went around the track to avoid a red flag situation.

IndyCar 2023 Grand Prix of Toronto Results

Pos.NameTeam
1Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan
2Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing
3Colton HertaAndretti Autosport
4Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing
5Josef NewgardenTeam Penske
6Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske
7Marcus ArmstrongChip Ganassi Racing
8Pato O’WardArrow McLaren
9Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan
10Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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