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De Silvestro tries her hands in practice

21 May 2011

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.

The five-hour qualifying session will set the grid order of the cars from 10 through 24, while the top nine are scheduled to go through to a 90 minute shootout to determine pole position and the front three rows of the starting grid, meaning their earlier times are deleted and they start afresh with at least one further qualification attempt.

However there is a big question mark over the weather at Indianapolis, with showers forecast, potentially heavy and even thunderous. In the event that rain prevents the top nine shootout then the grid order is taken from the earlier fine-hour session instead.

If the whole of Pole Day were to be a washout - which seems unlikely at this point - then qualifying would move to Sunday with all positions up for grabs, and no pole shootout.

Qualifying run order

1. #34 - Sebastian Saavedra
2. #83 - Charlie Kimball
3. #98 - Dan Wheldon
4. #77 - Alex Tagliani
5. #5T - Takuma Sato
6. #18 - James Jakes
7. #30 - Bertrand Baguette
8. #57 - TBA
9. #06 - James Hinchcliffe
10. #38 - Graham Rahal
11. #4 - JR Hildebrand
12. #28T - Ryan Hunter-Reay
13. #6 - Ryan Briscoe
14. #8 - Ho-Pin Tung
15. #26T - Marco Andretti
16. #12 - Will Power
17. #34T - Sebastian Saavedra
18. #11 - Davey Hamilton
19. #18T - James Jakes
20. #36 - Pippa Mann
21. #12T - Will Power
22. #3T - Helio Castroneves
23. #23 - Paul Tracy
24. #24T - Ana Beatriz
25. #27T - Mike Conway
26. #11T - Davey Hamilton
27. #67T - Ed Carpenter
28. #30T - Bertrand Baguette
29. #07 - Tomas Scheckter
30. #88 - Jay Howard
31. #82T - Tony Kanaan
32. #44T - Buddy Rice
33. #17T - Raphael Matos
34. #6T - Ryan Briscoe
35. #26 - Marco Andretti
36. #22T - Justin Wilson
37. #44 - Buddy Rice
38. #98T - Dan Wheldon
39. #7T - Danica Patrick
40. #41 - Bruno Junqueira
41. #19 - Alex Lloyd
42. #28 - Ryan Hunter-Reay
43. #83T - Charlie Kimball
44. #17 - Raphael Matos
45. #59 - E.J. Viso
46. #99 - Townsend Bell
47. #14 - Vitor Meira
48. #06T - James Hinchcliffe
49. #22 - Justin Wilson
50. #27 - Mike Conway
51. #59T - E.J. Viso
52. #2T - Oriol Servia
53. #3 - Helio Castroneves
54. #07T - Tomas Scheckter
55. #10T - Dario Franchitti
56. #5 - Takuma Sato
57. #9 - Scott Dixon
58. #78T - Simona De Silvestro
59. #14T - Vitor Meira
60. #43 - John Andretti
61. #41T - Bruno Junqueira
62. #2 - Oriol Servia
63. #24 - Ana Beatriz
64. #77T - Alex Tagliani
65. #20 - Scott Speed
66. #9T - Scott Dixon
67. #23T - Paul Tracy
68. #36T - Pippa Mann
69. #82 - Tony Kanaan
70. #99T - Townsend Bell
71. #88T - Jay Howard
72. #43T - John Andretti
73. #67 - Ed Carpenter
74. #7 - Danica Patrick
75. #38T - Graham Rahal
76. #10 - Dario Franchitti
77. #4T - JR Hildebrand
78. #19T - Alex Lloyd

For the pole shoot-out, the order is set with the slowest of the nine going first, then the next slowest, and so forth.


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