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New DW12 off to a fast start at St Pete

To no one's surprise given the lateness of the the engine manufacturer's entry into the series, the Lotus-powered cars were generally languishing around the bottom third of the times set on Friday. Even so, HVM's Simona de Silvestro impressed with a 16th fastest laptime of 1:02.9136s (102.998mph).

"We've started creeping up a little bit and it's been going better and better," said the Swiss driver. "We made really big improvements this afternoon on the car side. I know we still have a bit of work ahead of us for qualifying, but I think we're moving in the right direction on the car and also on the engine."

The biggest achievement of all for the Lotus stable of teams was that they were all out on track at all - something that didn't seem likely to happen even as recently as Wednesday, when Lotus Dragon Racing feared that the engine they needed for their second car driven by four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais wasn't going to get to St Pete in time.

"Overall, I'm pretty damn happy that everything went the way that we wanted to," said Bourdais. "Honestly, if you had told me that we would run two sessions with no problems, I would have signed straight away."

Proving that he still had all his US open wheel racing skills, Bourdais ended up as the second-quickest of the Lotus cars in what had been his first full day in the #7 car.

"We're near the top of the Lotus teams, pretty much," he pointed out. "We're seven hundredths behind Simona, who was the fastest. We're just learning about the car and making it better every run and making progress."

His team mate Katherine Legge was not as fast and ended up with the slowest time of the 26 drivers out on track thanks to some early issues.

"We had some minor issues in the first session with brakes and drivability, which the team quickly addressed. In the second session we were working on several things, including my learning of the track," she said. "[The time] is certainly not representative of what this team is capable of."

Right now, everyone's still having to work hard to get any real idea of just what is representative of what their own equipment is truly capable of - let alone having a good picture of the state of the rest of the field. But that's just going to make Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race day so much more fun and fascinating for all concerned - the fans most of all.




Related Pictures

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Will Power happy with the top time during Friday practice on the streets of Baltimore - September 2011. [Photo Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon [Picture Credit: Brett Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Will Power in the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates winning the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg with third-place finisher Tony Kanaan (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates winning the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Start of the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6; and Tony Kanaan (right), driver of the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6; celebrate with Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who raced to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Power finished second. Kanaan finished third. Chevrolet took the top six places in the first race of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 after winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, March 29, 2015 winning the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya wins the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher)
Juan Pablo Montoya enters Turn 3 during the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power clash in the closing laps of the 2015 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal waits on pit lane prior to practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal apexes Turn 1 during practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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