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Four pass rookie orientation

Four rookies have passed through the rookie orientation programme following the first day of running at Indianapolis.

Robert Doornbos, Raphael Matos, Alex Tagliani and Mike Conway all successfully turned the required laps to pass through rookie orientation – which required drivers to show consistent driving through four speed ranges beginning at 200mph and then increasing in 5mph increments.

Doornbos was the quickest of the four rookies to pass through the programme, turning a quickest lap of 221.735mph.

"I seem to learn fast on the ovals and the team is doing a good job,” the Newman Haas Lanigan man said, “so I don't see a reason why we shouldn't be in the top eleven (on Pole Day)."

Doornbos was followed by Matos on the times, with Tagliani third of the quartet to make it through as he prepares to make his long-awaited Indy 500 debut with the Conquest Racing squad. British driver Conway also hit the required markers although he admitted it had been a dauting experience to take to the track at the Brickyard for the first time.

"The first run was a bit daunting,” he said. “It's a big place here and a lot of high speed. Once I did the first run, I came back to the garages and sat down and thought about it. I felt a lot more comfortable and relaxed in the second run, which is the way that you have to be in these cars, just relaxed and feel what's going on.

“Overall, I'm really happy with the runs we had today. We learned a lot with the car and made some good setup changes, so I think we are looking great for tomorrow."

Nelson Philippe completed three phases of rookie orientation, while Stanton Barrett completed two, with both drivers back on track for the second rookie orientation session today [Wednesday].

The session also saw three Indy 500 veterans hit the track to complete refresher laps, with Paul Tracy setting the quickest time overall ahead of ALMS racer Scott Sharp.

"We took advantage of today, with the refresher course,” Tracy said. “There's rain in the forecast the next couple days possibly - the weather can change here at any time, so I'm pretty happy with where we're at right now."

Alex Lloyd also turned laps and was eighth quickest of the nine drivers on track.

Rookie Orientation times – Tuesday 5 May:

1. Paul Tracy KVRT 223.089mph
2. Scott Sharp Panther 221.878mph
3. Robert Doornbos NHLR 221.735mph
4. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 218.613mph
5. Alex Tagliani Conquest 218.333mph
6. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 217.063mph
7. Nelson Philippe HVM 214.786mph
8. Alex Lloyd Ganassi/Schmidt 213.032mph
9. Stanton Barrett Team 3G 207.522mph

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