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Dixon and Franchitti finish on top at Sebring

"Overall though we have had a very good two days of testing," he said. "We were able to run a good amount of laps again today and look at some different setups. We also practised pit stops which will served me well. I was able to see how the car reacts coming in on warm tires and leaving on cold tires and seeing where to position the car, all things that are very different to what I am used to."

Perhaps the most surprising strong performances of this second block of testing on Thursday and Friday was the consistently strong showing of Panther's JR Hildebrand and AJ Foyt Racing's Mike Conway.

"We struggled all day to find speed," insisted Conway, who still wasn't happy with the margin that the leaders had over him by the end of the open test. "We need to go quicker because four tenths is massive around here. We learned some things but we have more work to do, we just have to keep working at it."

Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's Josef Newgarden also made steady improvement on the second day of testing, with Newgarden finishing ahead of Ganassi's Charlie Kimball in both morning and afternoon sessions just two days after getting their hands on their Honda engine.

There was relief, too, in the Lotus camp which got all three cars out on track during the day without significant issues and which even saw Bryan Herta Autosport's Alex Tagliani in the top ten in the morning.

There was also the first track time for Lotus Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais, who borrowed his team mate Katherine Legge's #6 car for the morning session and achieved 69 laps before lunch, with Legge herself adding another 45 in the afternoon.

"Nothing is ideal, we would have loved to get more done, but at least I will show up in St. Pete having done some laps in the car," said a relieved Bourdais after his spell in the cockpit. "Knowing a little bit, making sure the car was right and was doing everything it was expected to do, and to get the communication going with the engineers is what we need to address and to get the communication going with Lotus as well.

"Now we're just having to deal with balance issues and fixing stuff, so it's more what I'm used to and what my job is rather than worrying if we're going to get the car on the track," he continued. "Just slowly starting, really."

Ed Carpenter's new team was continuing to have teething problems, causing two cautions in the afternoon including one for going off-roading at turn 10. Despite finishing at the bottom of the timesheets in the morning and only just ahead of Legge in the afternoon, Carpenter was still confident that progress was being made.

“All in all, it was a good two-day start for the team,” he insisted. "“We had a few hiccups during the two days but we wanted to get in some testing for the car, engine and the crew.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Ganassi`s Dario Franchitti during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
KV Racing Technology`s Rubens Barrichello during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti check out the timing screens. [Picture Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
JR Hildebrand, IndyCar, Ed Carpenter Racing
Ed Jones, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar [Credit: Ed Jones PR]
Ed Jones celebrates winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Ed Jones - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Shawn Gritzmacher]
Josef Newgarden - Ed Carpenter Racing [credit: Chris Jones]
Spencer Pigot - Ed Carpenter Racing
Sebastian Bourdais (KVSH Racing) celebrates in Detroit   [image creid: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Sebastian Bourdais - KVSH Racing   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]

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