Lundgaard raises recreation and wins IndyCar Rookie of the 12 months
For Christian Lundgaard, the 2022 Rookie of the 12 months crown is the proper exclamation mark on the finish of a season that began on a irritating be aware, however turned more and more encouraging as time went on.
“I believe this race in the present day might need been one of many higher races we’ve had all 12 months,” mentioned the driving force of the No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda after ending fifth at Laguna Seca.
“We weren’t actually aggressive all weekend. We had been type of there, however probably not there. We didn’t qualify properly sufficient. We had been good on the blacks, however as quickly as we put the reds on there was simply no tempo.
“We did the job in the present day, and I’m simply completely happy that the workforce gave me the chance to be right here and obtain this. I’m grateful for Bobby . Thanks for giving me this chance and maintaining me. I’m completely happy about that. Now I’ve bought one other championship to win, however you solely get one shot on the rookie championship, so getting it was an enormous achievement for me.”
Lundgaard made a robust impression final season when he joined RLL for a one-off on the IMS highway course and certified the automobile fourth, and Rahal mentioned that early promise carried by means of to his rookie season this 12 months.
“It’s been a tricky 12 months for us,” he mentioned. “The primary third or half of the 12 months, very spotty. We didn’t give our drivers the automobiles that they deserved to have.
“Having mentioned that, all people pulled themselves collectively and type of figured it out. I imply, it was powerful; it was powerful. Midpoint of the season, it was powerful. All people stayed the course, labored actually laborious, and we noticed the enhancements within the efficiency general.
“I’m so happy for Christian. Each observe outdoors of the Indy GP was a brand new circuit . You go to Texas — that’s an intimidating place. You go to Toronto, you go to Iowa… I imply, this younger man needed to be taught as finest he might these circuits in a really brief time period.
“I’d prefer to assume we as a workforce helped him, however nonetheless, while you get on the market and also you begin going, it’s type of like, holy smokes, it is a completely different place.
“So I’m actually happy not only for Christian, however I’m actually happy for his workforce, his group. Ben Segal, his engineer who was new to us this 12 months and new to Christian — that is type of a starting course of, and so they actually, over the course of the 12 months, grew collectively, and the outcomes we see in the present day are a mirrored image of that.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou claimed Rookie of the 12 months titles and the IndyCar championship in consecutive seasons, and Rahal believes the 21-year-old Dane is succesful to repeating the feat.
“We wouldn’t have taken our possibility up on him if we didn’t assume ,” he mentioned. “I believe Christian is an enormous a part of the way forward for RLL, and as you noticed earlier this week , we’re bringing folks in to assist elevate the sport of RLL, and I believe mixed…there’s Christian, clearly, different new folks coming in, and the entire thought, we’re right here to win, and we really feel that Christian can win.
“I believe he confirmed that this 12 months. I imply, at Harvest Grand Prix, we received the race as a result of we had been the primary authorized automobile. Simply saying.”