Rain-halted IndyCar Alabama race postponed

The IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama was postponed due to heavy rain. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: Heavy rain forced the postponement of Sunday’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama to Monday after only 23 laps could be completed before heavy downpours made conditions too unsafe to race.

Reduced visibility and dangerous track conditions prompted the first IndyCar postponement since Pocono in 2016.

The race will resume where it was red-flagged with about 75 minutes remaining to complete a two-hour timed race on the 3.7-kilometre permanent road course.

Reigning IndyCar season champion Josef Newgarden, the American pole sitter and defending race champion, led every lap until the race was suspended and will lead the 23-car field when the green flag falls again on Monday.

After yellow flag caution conditions on the opening lap, American Charlie Kimball struck a barrier and stopped to halt the race after 12 laps.

The race restarted four laps later but quickly returned to caution conditions when Australia’s Will Power, who was running second to Newgarden, spun on the front straightaway and crashed in the first turn.

“It’s just a real shame,” Power said. “The car was good and we were doing our best out there, but it was really hard to see anything in front of me. The conditions were just so bad.

“As soon as I got to the front straight (on the restart), the car just came around and I tried to keep it off the wall, but it was hydroplaning and there was nothing I could do.”

The race was red-flagged after three more caution laps and another try at resuming lasted four laps under caution until officials decided on the postponement.

France’s Sébastien Bourdais will start second at the restart, with Americans Ryan Hunter-Reay third and Alexander Rossi third and fourth respectively.

Newgarden ranks second in this year’s IndyCar drivers’ rankings with 104 points, 22 adrift of Rossi.