Dario Franchitti fastest in Toronto practice

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti

Dario Franchitti had a positive start to the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend at Exhibition Place.

The three-time defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion and defending Toronto race winner topped the first day of practice with a lap of 1m00.2786s (104.813 mph) in his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Rookie Simon Pagenaud was second quickest in his Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda. Franchitti’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Scott Dixon, who was runner-up in the race last July, was third.

The top 21 cars were separated by one second.

Justin Wilson, the 2010 pole sitter, was fourth on the time chart ahead of Australian Penske driver Ryan Briscoe. Briscoe’s team-mate Will Power was seventh fastest.

Wilson was involved in a pit lane incident early in the morning session when his car “refused to go into neutral” and slid into the Dragon Racing car of Sebastien Bourdais.

Crew members Michael Cole of Dale Coyne Racing and Daniel Martin of Dragon Racing were treated and released from the infield care centre. Raffi Aroyan of Dragon Racing was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital for further evaluation, which revealed no injuries. Chuck Homan of Dragon Racing was treated at St. Michael’s Hospital and released.

Toronto’s James Hinchcliffe did not participate in the afternoon session because of a mechanical issue with the GoDaddy.com car. The Andretti Autosport team will replace the Chevrolet engine, which will result in a 10-grid spot penalty for the July 8 race.

Quebec native Alex Tagliani, driving the Team Barracuda-BHA car, also will incur a 10-grid spot penalty as the team chose to install its fourth fresh Honda engine of the season.

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