Simona de Silvestro has been permitted to take part in Saturday morning practice sessions by the IndyCar medical director Dr. Michael Olinger.
She was allowed to drive in her group's half-hour practice session from 8.30am, and then the hour-long all-car practice from 9am, in order to see how her hands hold up to the stresses of handing an IndyCar steering wheel at speed. The medics will keep her under evaluation to determine whether she can continue to drive for the rest of the weekend.
De Silvestro injured her hands in a violent practice crash on Thursday when her car flipped over and caught fire, leaving her with second degree burns on the back of her right hand and more superficial burns on her left. She was ordered to sit out Friday practice as a result, while her HVM team worked feverishly to build up a new car after her original race car was wrecked beyond repair in the accident.
De Silvestro's was the only major incident in a rain-curtailed week of practice, but Ryan Briscoe managed to have an accident in the Saturday morning session after he spun into the wall in turn 2 and damaged his race car. He was uninjured, but had to move to the T-car (spare car) and start to get that ready for qualifying in case the primary car can't be readied in time.
"I think it was cold tires," he said later. "It's little bit cooler this morning than what we had been running in. I just got to (Turn) 2 and it just snapped on me. The rear let go and that was it. No warning."
"I'm a bit bruised on my knees," Briscoe added when asked if he was injured. "My legs knocked the wheel off, actually. It's a real bummer to start Pole Day off this way."
Scott Speed was in the cockpit of the #20 despite overnight rumours of a bust-up between the American driver and his Dragon Racing team.
Unlike the six-hour practice sessions held over the last week, the two short practice sessions on Saturday are intended more for a last minute shake-down and fine-tuning, and general warm-up for qualifying which starts from 11am local time, running until 4pm.
Qualifying itself is a much more structured affair, with cars doing out in strictly pre-determined order (see below) to run three qualification attempts consisting of four laps comprising 10 miles in total. Drivers will generally be qualifying both their main car and their T-car.