Rahal fastest on Day 1 of Phoenix IndyCar test
Graham Rahal has topped the timesheets with the fastest lap of the evening session on Day 1 of the official IndyCar test at Phoenix Raceway.
Rahal clocked a best time of 19.4574s on the 1.022mi-long oval, while his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda team-mate Takuma Sato had achieved the benchmark in the afternoon with a 19.6726s.
Sato improved under lights to be second-fastest on combined times, ahead of Team Penske Chevrolet pair Simon Pagenaud and 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden.
Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Honda) was eighth-fastest and Will Power (Team Penske Chevrolet) 11th-fastest.
All 22 full-time entries, plus Kyle Kaiser in the Juncos Racing Chevrolet which he and Rene Binder will share during the season, took to the track for the first short oval running with the new universal aero kit.
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“It’s the most fun I have had on a short oval in years,” said Rahal.
“The car is much more driver sensitive. To me, it’s what an Indy car should be on a track like this.
“We’re good and Takuma is right behind us, and frankly that lap wasn’t anywhere near what the potential was. We were on a (19.30s lap), but I caught traffic.”
The day was largely trouble-free, with only rookie Matheus Leist coming unstuck.
The Brazilian spun his AJ Foyt Chevrolet exiting Turn 2 but stayed off the wall.
Testing continues on Saturday local time (Sunday AEDT) with two more three-hour sessions.
Combined results: Phoenix test
|1||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||D/H/F||0:19.4574||Fri evening|
|2||30||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||D/H/F||0:19.4600||Fri evening|
|3||22||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||D/C/F||0:19.5256||Fri evening|
|4||1||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||D/C/F||0:19.5513||Fri evening|
|5||14||Tony Kanaan||AJ Foyt Racing||D/C/F||0:19.5904||Fri evening|
|6||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||D/H/F||0:19.5990||Fri evening|
|7||98||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta w/ Curb-Agajanian||D/H/F||0:19.6393||Fri evening|
|8||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||D/H/F||0:19.6807||Fri evening|
|9||27||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||D/H/F||0:19.7134||Fri evening|
|10||4||Matheus Leist (R)||AJ Foyt Racing||D/C/F||0:19.7154||Fri evening|
|11||12||Will Power||Team Penske||D/C/F||0:19.7432||Fri evening|
|12||18||Sebastien Bourdais||DCR w/ Vasser-Sullivan||D/H/F||0:19.8250||Fri a’noon|
|13||21||Spencer Pigot||Ed Carpenter Racing||D/C/F||0:19.9261||Fri evening|
|14||6||Robert Wickens (R)||Schmidt Peterson||D/H/F||0:19.9364||Fri evening|
|15||23||Charlie Kimball||Carlin||D/C/F||0:19.9495||Fri evening|
|16||20||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||D/C/F||0:20.0271||Fri evening|
|17||5||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson||D/H/F||0:20.0465||Fri evening|
|18||10||Ed Jones||Chip Ganassi Racing||D/H/F||0:20.0593||Fri a’noon|
|19||59||Max Chilton||Carlin||D/C/F||0:20.0626||Fri evening|
|20||19||Pietro Fittipaldi (R)||Dale Coyne Racing||D/H/F||0:20.0669||Thu rookie|
|21||26||Zach Veach (R)||Andretti Autosport||D/H/F||0:20.1814||Fri evening|
|22||32||Kyle Kaiser (R)||Juncos Racing||D/C/F||0:20.2367||Fri a’noon|
|23||88||Gabby Chaves||Harding Racing||D/C/F||0:20.3407||Fri evening|
|24||26||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||D/H/F||0:20.5878||Thu rookie|
(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone