Currently reading: Motorsport wrap: Alonso stars in Indianapolis 500 qualifying
Results round-up: F1 ace to start fifth on grid for Indy 500. Plus World Rally Championship, BTCC, Formula E and more

Double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will start this year’s Indianapolis 500 fifth on the grid after an impressive showing in qualifying for the event.

The McLaren-Honda F1 racer is skipping the Monaco Grand Prix in a bid to win America’s biggest single-seater race next Sunday. And despite having no previous oval racing experience, Alonso reckons he could have gone even faster.

Interview: Mario Andretti on Fernando Alonso and the Indianapolis 500

Qualifying at Indianapolis takes place the weekend before the race, with drivers completing four-lap runs at the 2.5-mile speedway. The average speed for each complete run determines their grid spot. Alonso was seventh fastest on Saturday, with his 230.034mph run putting him into Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout to determine the starting order of the top nine drivers.

The Andretti Autosport team changed the Honda engine in Alonso’s car between practice and qualifying on Sunday as a precaution. It didn’t slow Alonso down: he averaged 231.300mph on his four-lap run in the Fast Nine Shootout.

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“We had an overboost problem coming out of the last corner, so we hit the engine limiter, and that cost some time,” said Alonso. “The guys did an amazing job to change the engine so quickly.”

Alonso said he was loving the experience of competing at Indianapolis, adding: “This is the biggest race in the world. I felt that the first time I came here [for practice], but the place was empty.

“Now I can see the fans coming in and the place beginning to fill up, it’s even more amazing. I can’t wait for next Sunday.”

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Four-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon claimed pole, with an average speed of 232.164mph, ahead of Ed Carpenter and 2016 winner Alexander Rossi.

Former F1 racer Sebastien Bourdais is set to miss the remainder of the IndyCar Series season after a heavy crash on the opening day of qualifying. The Frenchman, who drives for Dale Coyne Racing, suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip. 

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship: Oulton Park

Ash Sutton scored Subaru’s first victory of the BTCC season at Oulton Park. Andrew Jordan (BMW) and Gordon Shedden (Honda) also took race wins at the Cheshire circuit.

Click here to read Autocar’s full report of the event.

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FIA World Rally Championship: Rally Portugal

Reigning world champion Sebastien Ogier took his second victory of the season on Rally Portugal, extending his lead in the points standings.

The opening leg of the event was wide open, with six different drivers leading and Ogier, slowed by running first on the dusty roads in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC, as low as eighth at one point. But then his rivals began to hit trouble, with Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala rolling his Yaris WRC, Kris Meeke breaking the suspension on his Citroën C3 WRC and Hayden Padden (Hyundai) suffering electrical woes.

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That left Ogier battling M-Sport team-mate Ott Tanak, before the Estonian driver broke his Fiesta’s rear suspension, putting Ogier clear.

Hyundai drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo claimed second and third respectively ahead of Tanak. Irishman Craig Breen (Citroën) was fifth, with Welshman Elfyn Evans (Ford) sixth.

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  • Sebastien Buemi claimed his fifth Formula E win of the season in the Paris ePrix, while title rival Lucas di Grassi crashed out.
  • British racer Jamie Green battled past pole-sitter Robert Wickens to win the second DTM race at the Lausitzring. Points leader Lucas Auer won the opening encounter.
  • Maximilian Günther took a pair of Formula 3 race wins at Pau in France. His path to victory in race three was eased after Brit Lando Norris crashed out of the lead with nine laps left. Joel Eriksson held off Norris to win the other race.

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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