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NHLR happy with Sebring test.


Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing duo Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos have admitted that they are looking forward to comparing themselves to the rest of the IndyCar field at the forthcoming Barber Motorsport Park test after completing a trouble-free session at Sebring.

It was the team's first chance to conduct two full days of testing on a road course since it joined the IndyCar Series a year ago and, after taking a day off to analyse the data collected by Doornbos and Milka Duno on Tuesday, it was back on track to get Rahal reacquainted with the car in its road course configuration, while Doornbos continued along his IRL learning curve.

For the American, who defied his lack of similar running by winning first time out on the streets of St Petersburg last year, it was a first chance to get behind the wheel of an IndyCar since the Australian conclusion to 2008, and his first test outing on a road course since the team had to abort a three-hour session after just six laps when heavy rain hit Sebring in April.

“It was really nice to get back in the race car on a road course,” Rahal admitted, after clocking a best lap of 52.8secs, “It was my first time in about five months, since the Surfer's Paradise race, so it was a bit of a wake-up session this morning. As the day went on, however, I feel we learned a lot of good things that can help us all season. I think a lot of the things we tried will translate to the tracks we will race on this season and that is what we need most.”

After testing alongside Duno on Tuesday, Doornbos again utilised the additional allocation of test miles given to series rookies to get more experience behind the wheel of his new mount.

“It was good to get on track again, especially after having a day off to analyse everything,” the Dutchman noted, after improving to 53.1secs, “We were in the zone this morning, running fast times in the low 53s, and everything was going so well that, by lunchtime, we almost reached our limit in the mileage we are allowed to run, so we took a break.

''After lunch, we made two runs and called it a day, but it was good to run with Graham today and exchange information. We improved the cars as the day went on, and I'm looking forward to the test at Barber. Then I will just be counting the days until the first race. I can't wait to get started.”

The open test at the unfamiliar Barber Motorsports Park course takes place over 22-23 March.


Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League. 24-25 Feb. 2009. IRL Homestead Test.  Homestead Internation Raceway. Homestead, Florida. Graham Rahal.
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Tim Holle/IndyCar Media]
Graham Rahal sits in his Honda machine on pit lane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Graham Rahal drive their machines across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Marco Andretti, and Graham Rahal at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Graham Rahal, and James Hinchcliffe bring their machines across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal leads a group through the Turn 2 Keyhole turn during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal and his father, Bobby, celebrate in Victory Circle following their win in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Podium celebrations for Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson after the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Podium celebrations for Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson and Simon Pagenaud after the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal sprays the champagne in Victory Lane following his victory in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal wins the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal begins the celebration as he wins the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Marco Andretti, and Graham Rahal barrel into Turn 1 during practice for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal flashes across the start/finish line during practice for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at The Milwaukee Mile (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, and Graham Rahal go three-wide going into Turn 1 during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Don - Unregistered

March 13, 2009 3:13 PM

Graham at 52.8 secs and Bobby D at 53.1. It will be interesting to see how Doornbos comes up to speed as the season goes on, and if Rahal can stay ahead of him.



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