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Ganassi, KV Racing top testing at Sonoma
10 April 2012
Almost half the IndyCar field were at work on Monday at the Infineon Raceway facility in Sonoma, California, with teams keen to get any extra track time they could with their 2012 IndyCar chassis and new-specification engines.
The Chevrolet-backed Penske, Andretti and KV Racing teams made use of the testing opportunity with drivers Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan and EJ Viso all busy at work.
Driving Honda-powered cars, Chip Ganassi's drivers Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal were also all present.
As with the recent official speedway test session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there were no Lotus teams at the test due to a lack of spare engines being available.
Unlike the recent tests at Barber Motorsports Park and IMS, this was not an official public open test and official times were not given at the end of the day's activity on the 12-turn, 2.303-mile road course.
However, reports put Dario Franchitti fastest for the day with a time of 1:17.10s just ahead of his Ganassi team mates Charlie Kimball (1:17.40s) and Graham Rahal (1:17.50s). The fastest of the Chevy runners were KV Racing's EJ Viso (1:17.80s), Tony Kanaan (1:17.84s) and Rubens Barrichello (1:17.88s).
Ganassi and KV were the only teams to continue to test into the afternoon, while the other cars all packed up around midday in order to preserve the engines that they will need to run at next weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Penske's Will Power and Ryan Briscoe had times in the mid-1:18s while their team mate Helio Castroneves had only limited running. No times at all were available for Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay; James Hinchcliffe had an engine issue and Marco Andretti an early unspecified leakage problem found with his car in the morning which meant that neither driver was able to post any representative laps.
"Early end to the test for us," said Hinchliffe on Twitter as the Andretti Autosport team packed up for the day. "Better to work out the bugs at a test than on race weekend. Really wish we'd had a few more laps."
Many of the drivers also took part in media opportunities at the track, with Barrichello enthusing over how much he loved the Somona circuit, Kanaan stressing the importance of the tyres at Infineon Raceway, and Viso praising the new aero package on the car and saying that it should provide for some great action in the race at the venue in August.
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