ALONSO BUILDS MO­MEN­TUM

For­mer For­mula One cham­pion fin­ishes sev­enth fastest in Indy 500 qualifying

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WASH­ING­TON

TWO-TIME For­mula One cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso qual­i­fied for the Indy 500 on Satur­day as Ed Car­pen­ter pro­duced the day’s top speed.

Alonso, mak­ing his Indy de­but, was sev­enth fastest with a fourlap av­er­age of 230.034mph (370.204kph) with Car­pen­ter tak­ing top hon­ours at 230.468mph.

Car­pen­ter, who has clinched pole twice pre­vi­ously, and Alonso will join seven others in an ninecar shootout late yes­ter­day to bat­tle for pole to the May 28 race.

French hope­ful Se­bastien Bour­dais was trans­ported to hos­pi­tal for surgery af­ter the French driver suf­fered frac­tures to his pelvis and right hip from a crash on Satur­day, of­fi­cials said.

The for­mer For­mula One driver was to be op­er­ated on at In­di­ana Uni­ver­sity Health Methodist Hos­pi­tal, IndyCar said in a state­ment.

The 38-year-old Bour­dais, who was driv­ing for Dale Coyne Rac­ing, slammed head-on into the safety bar­ri­ers when his Honda-pow­ered car lost con­trol at Turn 2.

“Se­bastien is in good hands here at IU Methodist Hos­pi­tal with the staff and now we just wait for him to re­cover,” team owner Dale Coyne said in a state­ment.

De­spite rain that de­layed qualifying for five hours, Alonso said he was pleased with his per­for­mance.

“I think the day was smooth for us,” the Spa­niard told re­porters.

“I think this morn­ing when the weather came in, (it) def­i­nitely put a lit­tle bit of a stress on ev­ery­one. Ob­vi­ously you have only one at­tempt, one shot, so you can­not get it wrong.”

“I think (it) was not per­fectly OK in terms of bal­ance, in terms of driv­ing my­self, that I keep learn­ing on this for­mat.”

Car­pen­ter topped Ja­pan’s Takuma Sato (230.382) and New Zealand’s Scott Dixon (230.333) to lead qual­i­fiers. Agen­cies

AP PIC

The car driven by Se­bastien Bour­dais hits the wall and bursts into flames dur­ing the Indy 500 qualifying at the In­di­anapo­lis Mo­tor Speed­way on Satur­day.

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