IndyCar Pre-Season Testing (Barber Motorsports Park, March 14th)

Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama. © Wikipedia Commons

Will Power topped the first day of testing earlier this week at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.

The Penske driver completed only 42 laps with a best of 1:12.505, yet still managed to keep Ganassi rival Scott Dixon (2nd) from leading the table.
Dreyer and Reinbold’s Justin Wilson penetrated the top-three with a quickest run just 0.173 of-a-second shy of Power, while the Briton notched up 47 laps during what appeared to be a productive day. No doubt Wilson will be hoping to bring this form into the season proper. Helio Castroneves lined up 4th on the sheets in the Penske.

James Hinchcliffe garnered the headlines in his outing for Newman-Haas. The series rookie set his best time in the morning, ending 5th overall after a 70 lap session. While his final position was impressive, Hinchcliffe will most likely be prizing the mileage he got to run.
Despite a trip through the gravel, the final Penske of Ryan Briscoe lined up 6th just ahead of KV Racing’s EJ Viso, while the returning Mike Conway headed the Andretti-Autosport group in 8th, albeit half-a-second off Power’s Pace.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti-Autosport) and Alex Tagliani (Sam Schmidt Motorsports) rounded out the top-ten, just pipping the Ganassi pairing of Graham Rahal (11th) and Dario Franchitti (12th).
Takuma Sato (13th, KV Racing) registered a respectable best of 1:13.191, although the Japanese driver suffered a couple of offs during the day. Veteran racer Oriol Servia made a return to IndyCar’s as he ran in a second Newman-Haas entry – it is reported that the Spaniard will be in the car for the first race at St Petersburg next week.

Marco Andretti only ran 48 laps on his to 15th in his Andretti-Autosport machine. The American did finish ahead of four-time Champ Car champion, Sebastien Bourdais. This was the first time that Bourdais had stepped into any sort of IndyCar since his Champ Car days, seeming happy enough with his pace following 69 laps.
Simona de Silvestro (17th, HVM) and Charlie Kimball (18th, Ganassi) were the final runners within one second of Power’s pace. Just outside of that margin were Danica Patrick (19th, Andretti), Vitor Meira (20th, AJ Foyt) and Sebastian Saavedra (21st, Conquest) – all of whom ranked approximately 1.2 seconds down.

Former-Indy Lights Champion, JR Hildebrand finished 22nd for Panther after only 41 laps of running, while surprise tester James Jakes ranked 23rd for Dale Coyne. At the time, Jakes was a complete unknown, but as reported on this site earlier this week, it appears the Briton has split from GP2 drive with Scuderia Coloni.
Ana Beatriz brought up the rear in her Dreyer and Reinbold runner come the chequered flag. With 66 laps under her belt, the Brazilian set a best of 1:15.077 – approximately 2.57 seconds down on Power.

Pos  Driver               Team               Time        Gap
 1.  Will Power           Penske             1m12.5056s
 2.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi            1m12.5538s  + 0.0482s
 3.  Justin Wilson        Dreyer & Reinbold  1m12.6791s  + 0.1735s
 4.  Helio Castroneves    Penske             1m12.7764s  + 0.2708s
 5.  James Hinchcliffe    Newman/Haas        1m12.8729s  + 0.3673s
 6.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske             1m12.9715s  + 0.4659s
 7.  EJ Viso              KV                 1m13.0170s  + 0.5114s
 8.  Mike Conway          Andretti           1m13.0338s  + 0.5282s
 9.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti           1m13.1048s  + 0.5992s
10.  Alex Tagliani        Schmidt            1m13.1187s  + 0.6131s
11.  Graham Rahal         Ganassi            1m13.1366s  + 0.6310s
12.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi            1m13.1524s  + 0.6468s
13.  Takuma Sato          KV                 1m13.1913s  + 0.6857s
14.  Oriol Servia         Newman/Haas        1m13.2537s  + 0.7481s
15.  Marco Andretti       Andretti           1m13.2586s  + 0.7530s
16.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dale Coyne         1m13.2904s  + 0.7848s
17.  Simona de Silvestro  HVM                1m13.4546s  + 0.9490s
18.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi            1m13.4830s  + 0.9774s
19.  Danica Patrick       Andretti           1m13.7102s  + 1.2046s
20.  Vitor Meira          Foyt               1m13.7737s  + 1.2681s
21.  Sebastian Saavedra   Conquest           1m13.8020s  + 1.2964s
22.  JR Hildebrand        Panther            1m14.5534s  + 2.0478s
23.  James Jakes          Dale Coyne         1m14.7775s  + 2.2719s
24.  Ana Beatriz          Dreyer & Reinbold  1m15.0777s  + 2.5721s

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