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Penske team-mates, Palou strongest threats to IndyCar title defence

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Energy, the 2014 and ’22 champion, led his Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin in a Penske 1-2-4 within the 2022 factors standings, with Ganassi’s Scott Dixon, Palou and Marcus Ericsson filling out locations 3-5-6.

However Energy stated there have been different groups he’s watching warily.

“I feel you will study over the primary 5 races who is basically proper within the sport,” he stated. “It is so onerous to foretell. So many quick drivers and quick groups, good groups. Who is aware of?

“You realize the Penske vehicles can be good, Ganassi can be good, the Andretti guys. You could have [Kyle] Kirkwood in there now, and I feel he’ll be very robust. McLaren guys too.

“It is loopy. It’s extremely, very fiercely aggressive.”

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Nevertheless, requested straight who he expects to be his fiercest title rivals, Energy replied: “Other than my two teammates, I need to say Palou might be going to be the opposite hardest man, I feel.

“Who is aware of? If [Colton] Herta will get some actual good consistency… It’s extremely tough to say. I imply, Dixon is at all times there. I really feel like Palou is a quicker model of Dixon as a result of he is extraordinarily quick and constant. I feel clearly they’re each extraordinarily good drivers.

“The sphere is stuffed with excellent drivers.”

Regardless of Penske successful 9 of the 17 races in 2022, probably the most dominant victory got here from outgoing champion Palou within the season finale at Laguna Seca. Requested if that rang alarm bells at Penske to double-down in its efforts within the low season, Energy stated: “I at all times say we put a ton of effort into the Indy 500 once more. I am undecided there’s all that a lot to be discovered on highway and avenue programs.

“However yeah, Palou was one other planet final race! He’ll be proper within the sport once more this yr. Yeah, it is fascinating, simply fascinating, that final race with the [tyre] deg and all that. Undoubtedly some variants I felt between the tyre [sets].

Will Energy, Crew Penske Chevrolet

Picture by: IndyCar Sequence

“I scuffed two units and I actually struggled within the center stints. Then I placed on a non-scuffed set on the finish and I used to be proper on tempo with Josef no less than.

“Yeah, perhaps there’s one thing in that. I do not know. However, yeah, you anticipate Ganassi’s guys to all be up there, all of them.”

Provided that little or no testing was performed within the low season, Energy admits he isn’t certain which engine provider, Chevrolet or Honda, has the higher hand on this remaining season for the two.2-litre engines with out hybrid energy, however he suspects there’s little in it.

Chevrolet’s positive aspects within the earlier offseason, he identified, had been right down to revised mapping leading to improved driveability, slightly than a horsepower leap.

“Wanting on the sectors [in testing], it regarded like Honda might have been turned down,” he stated. “It appeared as if they turned theirs down for no matter cause. Possibly it is to save lots of the engine. Do not know.

“Actually it is the highway and avenue programs, then there’s Indy – there’s in all places after which Indy. How good are we at Indy on the decrease enhance degree? That would be the query.

“I feel on the highway and avenue programs there’s not a lot to be discovered. It was fairly even final yr. I anticipate it is going to be fairly even, hopefully even, this yr. Or hopefully we have the higher hand!

“I imply, we have had the engine so lengthy, nobody’s going to make a large bounce. You would be questioning the bounce in the event that they did!

“Final yr was a giant achieve for us. It wasn’t energy, it was simply the way in which the drivability is, the [power] supply is so significantly better.”

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