Christian Lundgaard couldn’t wait to shave off his mustache, removing the hair from his upper lip right there in victory lane at the Honda Indy Toronto.
Lundgaard started on pole and took advantage of IndyCar season standings leader Alex Palou’s car problems to hold on for victory on Sunday. His first win on North America’s premier single-seater racing circuit also ended a pact with his best friend to keep his mustache until he climbed to the top of an IndyCar podium.
Lundgaard said she was happy to get rid of facial hair.
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«But I haven’t seen it yet so I don’t really know what it looks like,» said the 21-year-old Dane, who rubbed his upper lip during the post-race press conference. «I guess I’ll wait and see.»
Lundgaard claimed pole position on Saturday when steady rain made the road around Toronto’s Exhibition Place slippery. The son of 2000 European rally car champion Henrik Lundgaard, the sophomore IndyCar student used his off-road experience to secure the top starting position in the race.
But after qualifying, Lundgaard was pessimistic about having the fastest car in the actual race. Ultimately, he felt that he had the race under control from start to finish.
«We struggled, especially on the super tracks,» said Lundgaard, who led the race for 53 of the 85 laps. «We are making progress even though we don’t have the pace and performance on the super tracks.
«It just means we’re going to do pretty well elsewhere and I think we showed that today.»
ALEX PALOU ACHIEVES THIRD CONSECUTIVE WIN AT MID-OHIO
Palou took second place despite starting 15th on the grid and nursing a damaged front wing for more than 20 laps. Colton Herta was third on his first podium finish of the season.
Palou had won three of the last four races on the circuit’s calendar. His podium finish Sunday reinforced his lead in the season standings ahead of Scott Dixon, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate.
«I’m glad I was able to overcome. It’s not easy in IndyCar and especially in races like that,» said Palou, who now has 417 points to Dixon’s 300. «I think our race was much more difficult than it seems.» if you only look at the results.
«At one point, I was on the wall, I didn’t know if we were going to be able to get out of there or not.»
Scott McLaughlin and Dixon briefly held the lead around the middle of the race. But their decisions not to stop during a long caution eventually gave Palou and Lundgaard the opportunity to take the lead when they needed to stop.
ALEX PALOU ENLARGES THE LEADER IN THE INDYCAR POINTS CLASSIFICATION WITH VICTORY AT ROAD AMERICA
Lundgaard passed Palou with 24 laps to go and, knowing the Ganassi car’s front wing was coming loose, stepped on the flat.
«He knew he would pass him and the cars in front of him had to pit anyway because they couldn’t pit on tires or fuel,» said Lundgaard, who moved up to seventh in the IndyCar standings. «I knew he had only one car to pass and he was struggling.
«As soon as I got past him, I was the hell out of it.»
Palou’s front wing was barely holding up late in the race, with one end falling to the ground and a large crack in the nose of the car.
«I could feel it dragging and I was like ‘Oh man, that’s not good,'» Palou said, adding that he tried to avoid curbs on the street course in an effort to preserve the wing. «I honestly thought we weren’t going to finish the race with that nose.
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«I think it was just the (sponsor tags) that held it down because there was nothing else there.»
Dixon, the defending Honda Indy Toronto champion, started seventh on the grid and led for several laps, but finished fourth after his team misjudged when to stop.
McLaughlin, who started the race in second position, finished sixth.