ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Felix Rosenqvist’s debut in Indy Lights Presented by Coopers Tires is off to a good start. The Belardi Auto Racing driver swept the March 11 opening practice sessions for this weekend’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg race doubleheader.
The defending Formula 3 champion nipped Team Pelfrey’s Scott Hargrove in both practices. Rosenqvist, from Varnamo, Sweden, clocked the fastest lap of the day in the afternoon session at 1 minute, 7.0470 seconds (96.649 mph). Hargrove was right behind at 1:07.1133 (96.553 mph) among the field of 16 entries.
“We’re in a good direction,” Rosenqvist said. “I’m feeling comfortable I can do constant times which are competitive, but I still want to find a little bit more to find that last little bit.”
Hargrove is in a similar position as last year as he is only committed for the St. Petersburg rounds. He gave Team Pelfrey a solid start to the weekend as it tackles its first Indy Lights campaign. Hargrove raced in 2015 for 8Star Motorsports, which was absorbed by Team Pelfrey late last year. Many of those on the 8Star crew joined the Pelfrey crew.
“Leading up to this weekend, we always knew that we would be quick,” Hargrove said. “I’m with the same group of guys as last year, so the chemistry is already there.
“Not really paying attention to the lap times, just really working on the car and it just worked out that session,” Hargrove added. “Still not P1, we’ve got a little bit of work to do, but we’re going on the right track.”
Andretti Autosport’s Dean Stoneman was third on the combined speed chart with a lap of 1:07.3126 (96.267 mph set in the morning session. Indy Lights qualifying is scheduled for 7:55 a.m. ET March 12, with the first of two weekend races at 12:55 p.m.
Telitz rises in first Pro Mazda session
The Team Pelfrey duo of Aaron Telitz and Pato O’Ward set the pace in Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires practice.
Telitz was the only driver to post a lap of less than 82 seconds in the day’s two sessions. The Wisconsin native was clocked at 1:11.9438 (90.070 mph) in the first session and it held up for the day when he led the afternoon charts at 1:12.5857.
O’Ward was second quick overall at 1:12.0673 in the first session, just ahead of 2015 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda champion Nico Jamin, whose Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing entry was third at 1:12.2503.
Lloyd on top in St. Pete
Jordan Lloyd made the most of his first Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda qualifying session, snatching the pole in the final seconds from Parker Thompson.
Lloyd, the 19-year old Australian, won the pole on the last of his 16 laps in the session, with a time of 1:14.3936 (87.104 mph) to lead three Pabst Racing drivers in the top four. Thompson, driving for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing, was second at 1:14.5292 (86.946).
Yufeng Luo and Garth Rickards, teammates to Lloyd at Pabst Racing, qualified third and fourth. Twenty-seven cars will start the USF2000 race at 8:40 a.m. ET March 12. A second race is scheduled for the afternoon.