ALONSO BUILDS MOMENTUM
Former Formula One champion finishes seventh fastest in Indy 500 qualifying
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
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.