Four-times IndyCar champion Scott Dixon has finished sixth in the IndyCar season-opening St Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida on Monday (NZT).

Starting ninth on the grid, Dixon was penalised early in the 110-lap race for running into the back of Takuma Sato's car.

Sent to the rear of the 24-car field for what IndyCar deemed "avoidable contact", Dixon restarted the race in 21st place before working his way back to take sixth.

IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens, who started on pole, led the race for 69 laps and had the win in his grip until contact with Alexander Rossi on a restart took him out of contention, Associated Press reports.

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Sebastien Bourdais wrapped up his second consecutive victory at St. Petersburg, a milestone in his recovery from serious injuries suffered in a crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

The second meet in the 17-race series is the Phoenix Grand Prix in Arizona on April 7.

- AAP