McLaughlin scores another IndyCar career-first

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 15/05/2021
  • By James Pavey, Pics by IndyCar Media

Scott McLaughlin has ticked off another IndyCar Series career-first, with the three-time Supercars champion making it through to the Fast Six for the first time.

Team Penske driver McLaughlin will start the Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the third row.

The New Zealander managed to score a career-best fifth in qualifying in only his fourth IndyCar qualifying session on a non-oval.

It comes in a season McLaughlin has made rapid gains in his maiden full-time IndyCar campaign; notably, he scored a podium on his oval debut in Texas.

Former Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean, a fellow rookie to McLaughlin, scored pole for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.

WATCH: MCLAUGHLIN'S MOST-WATCHED SUPERCARS MOMENTS

The Frenchman logged a 1:09.439s on the Indianapolis road course circuit.

McLaughlin clocked a 1:09.714s, helping him to fifth behind Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden, Jack Harvey, and first round winner Alex Palou.

"It was a goal of ours this weekend, to be honest, we really wanted to try and push that top 10," the 28-year-old said.

"We've been close before, especially at St Pete. I'm really proud of the effort from the PPG Chevy team there on #3.

"We were methodical all day. We just slowly chipped away at it and we turned up with a really good car for qualifying."

McLaughlin paid tribute to Grosjean, whose F1 career ended in a fiery accident at Bahrain six months ago, leaving him with burns to his hands.

"First, props to Romain," McLaughlin said.

"It's amazing for him and the sport for him to come back and get pole so soon.

"It's been a privilege to be in the rookie class with him and I'm excited to race him tomorrow."

Grosjean added: "That feeling, wow, I forgot what it was.

"Honestly, in the first part of quali I was struggling a bit. My engineer made some really good change over the runs.

"Actually, the Fast Six was the first time I run strong red [soft compound] tyres and the car felt really good. Amazing.

"When I saw the group I was, I was like, 'Oh dear! If we can get out the first group that's going to be okay', and we did.

"The last few laps were on it."

The race will commence at 4:30am AEST on Sunday.

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria for the Winton SuperSprint across May 28-30. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.

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