Although the statistics are not in his favour, as he has managed five pole positions but has only won once, Scott Dixon is the big favourite for the 106th edition of the Indianapolis 500.
The New Zealander is an IndyCar legend, with six titles and 51 victories to his credit, but the Indy 500 has not been kind to him, as he has finished second three times.
Pole position is not synonymous with victory
Interestingly, despite registering the four fastest laps, on average, in the history of Indy 500 qualifiers, Dixon explained that Sunday’s run was the easiest of the entire week. Far from being presumptuous, he made that claim based on the team’s good work.
“I knew the car had a lot of speed,” he said.
“Luckily, the conditions allowed us to get into Fast 12 on Saturday [his starting position, just ahead of Palou, was not the best possible]. We decided we had to be aggressive and, in fact, I think we were too aggressive in the first two laps, because we lost quite a lot of speed after that.
“For me it was almost the easiest four laps of the week. We had analysed everything very well and the conditions were good.”
However, Dixon is not satisfied with just the pole position, which, in fact, was not his main objective.
“We didn’t approach this weekend looking for pole, but it’s definitely an achievement and I’m proud of it,” he explained.
“For one reason or another we haven’t been able to do it [win from pole] in the past. I don’t know exactly why it happens. I don’t think there’s a clear answer. In any case, the real objective is to win the race.”
Palou: A rival to watch out for
MARCA asked Dixon about his opinion on the reigning champion Alex Palou and the former was full of praise for the Spaniard.
“He already proved it in the last one,” said Dixon.
“Alex is going to be one of my main rivals, one of the few who will be really difficult to beat.
“Being in the same team I can see what a spectacular driver he is and how talented he is. He’s doing a sensational job of getting the best out of the car in every situation.”
Indeed, many people compare the two men, not least because of the consistency of results they both have, although Dixon has been struggling this season.
“The start of the season has been horrendous, with a lot of failures,” he acknowledged.
“But I was hoping to get to the iconic race and get back on track, with the pole points we’re already on it. The Indy 500 is a double points race and it would be nice to come out of here well placed. We haven’t got a podium yet but we have to turn that around quickly by working like never before.”