Penske drivers top the time sheets at Sonoma

Speedcafe.com

Saturday 25th August, 2012 - 12:20pm

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Will Power

Aussies Will Power and Ryan Briscoe set the benchmark in opening practice for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix at the Sonoma road course in California this morning.

Power set a best lap of 1:18.6887s in the 75-minute session ahead of his Team Penske sidekick Briscoe, 1:18.8782s.

The third-quickest time was set by Simon Pagenaud .2341s in arrears of Power’s best in the Schmidt Hamilton Honda.

Sonoma specialist Power is out to protect his lead and win his maiden IndyCar championship title.

“It’s coming down to the nitty-gritty now (for the championship) so it’s important to get everything right,” Power said. “It will be very important to start up front in the race if you want to finish on the podium.”

“We’ve had success here in the past -we took the top three spots in the race last year and 1-2 today so Team Penske definitely has had good success here in the part.

“ We’ll look at our notes and try to go faster tomorrow. We’d really like a pole position to keep moving forward in the Championship race and we’ll see if we can do that tomorrow, we’ll see.”

Like Power, Briscoe feels right at home at the 12-turn Sonoma circuit and has indicated the Penske operation will be hard to beat this weekend.

“I love racing at Sonoma, it’s always been one of my favorite events on the calendar, and I’m feeling good,” Briscoe said. “We got a fresh Chevrolet engine in the No. 2 car this weekend that’s feeling good, and I’m feeling good. We definitely want to win, so we’ll see what we can do.”

Sonoma Practice 1

1

Will Power

1:18.6887

2

Ryan Briscoe

1:18.8782

3

Simon Pagenaud

1:18.9228

4

Dario Franchitti

1:19.0394

5

Rubens Barrichello

1:19.4015

6

Sebastien Bourdais

1:19.4172

7

Scott Dixon

1:19.4518

8

Graham Rahal

1:19.5923

9

Marco Andretti

1:19.6270

10

Sebastian Saavedra

1:19.6402

11

Oriol Servia

1:19.6631

12

Justin Wilson

1:19.6840

13

Tony Kanaan

1:19.6903

14

JR Hilderbrand

1:19.8968

15

James Jakes

1:19.9588

16

Helio Castroneves

1:19.9620

17

Alex Tagliani

1:19.9917

18

Josef Newgarden

1:20.1930

19

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:20.2063

20

James Hinchcliffe

1:20.3667

21

Mike Conway

1:20.4466

22

EJ Viso

1:20.6589

23

Takuma Sato

1:20.8900

24

Simona de Silverstro

1:20.9382

25

Charlie Kimball

1:21.0304

26

Katherine Legge

1:21.1876

27

Ed Carpenter

1:21.4132

Points standings top 10

1

Will Power

379

2

Ryan Hunter-Reay

374

3

Helio Castroneves

353

4

Scott Dixon

351

5

James Hinchcliffe

316

6

Simon Pagenaud

311

7

Tony Kanaan

307

8

Dario Franchitti

271

9

Ryan Briscoe

267

10

Graham Rahal

256

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