Colton Herta

Colton Herta led a wet pre-qualifying practice for the XPEL Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR on Saturday, as drivers tiptoed around the soaked circuit searching for the limits of grip.

Herta was quickest at 2 minutes, 7.3027 seconds in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda fielded by Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian. That lap time was 24 seconds slower than the top lap of 1:43.1709 posted in dry conditions Friday by Alex Palou in the No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, as rain pounded the 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit for most of the one-hour session. Herta was second quickest behind Palou in the dry practice Friday.

SEE: Practice Results

But Herta was nearly two seconds quicker than his closest pursuer, two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Will Power, second at 2:09.2497 in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet.

“It’s getting a little too sketchy, and we kind of learned what we wanted to learn,” Herta said. “I’ve got to give props to the track. This was a place that we had a lot of problems with rivers and ravines and it got pretty nasty when it rained, and they seemed to fix that by adding a lot of drainage.

“This Gainbridge Honda seems fast in the dry, seems fast in the wet. So, hopefully that translates to a good result later this afternoon.”

Up next is NTT P1 Award qualifying at 3:25 p.m. ET, live on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Rookie Christian Rasmussen ended up third at 2:09.5138 in the No. 20 Guy Care Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing, followed by fellow Danish driver Christian Lundgaard at 2:10.9633 in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Scott McLaughlin completed the top five at 2:11.1215 in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.

There were four red flags during the session, mainly for drivers who entered run-off areas or gravel while learning the grip levels of the wet track.

Defending Road America winner Palou triggered two of those red flags, as he got stuck in the gravel next to Turn 14 early in the session, and then his car stalled after exiting the pits with a few minutes remaining. Two-time and reigning series champion Palou ended up 15th at 2:16.9717.

The extended red-flag periods and treacherous weather forced many drivers to opt for caution instead of valor. Just 154 laps overall were turned in the one-hour session, compared to 478 in the 75-minute practice Friday under sunny skies.