IndyCar » 28 April 2012
Franchitti, Power top stop-start practice 2
A number of red flags - including one for a hard hit against the concrete wall for Helio Castroneves - meant that second practice in Brazil was a frustratingly staccato affair.
A hard hit for Helio Castroneves on the exit of turn 2 after jumping across the kerbing into a concrete wall put paid to the Brazilian racer's participation just 20 minutes into the the hour-long second practice session in Brazil ahead of the Sao Paulo Indy 300.
Castroneves managed to do heavy damage to his front wing and suspension, and it took the race officials some ten minutes to collect up the pieces before running could resume. The incident was the second red flag stoppage of the session, after an early brief pause following Castroneves' Penske team mate Ryan Briscoe going for a spin on the exit of turn 11.
Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay has been top of the timesheets when Castroneves had crashes, and although Scott Dixon immediately put in a fast lap of 1:22:4266s to go top, Hunter-Reay immediately clipped off a little more time off his lap to nip 0.0076s ahead again, while Dario Franchitti slipped into third place.
The next green period saw Sebastien Bourdais take to the runoff in turn 5 without causing a red flag, and moments later Ana Beatriz followed the Frenchman's lead at the same spot while Katherine Legge also found herself in the turn 11 runoff area.
By then, Takuma Sato had brought out the third red flag by stopping out on track in turn 11, seemingly with a small fire in the back of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan. That dropped some oil down on the track that took some time to clear up; Sato is expected to need a change of Honda engine what will incur a ten-place grid penalty for tomorrow's race, and in any case he may not be able to participate in qualifying at all.
By the time the oil was finally cleared up there were only around nine minutes of the session remaining. Perhaps expecting another stoppage at any moment, Dario franchitti and Will Power immediate punched in their best laps of the day to put themselves at the top of the timesheets with Franchitti's lap of 1:22.2611 just 0.0816s ahead of Power.
Charlie Kimball joined a number of drivers lightly leaving their tyre impression on the wall at the exit of turn 10, but it was Josef Newgarden who did indeed bring out a final red flag in the session by ending up in a slow sideways skid into the tyre wall at turn 11, hopefully with little damage to the SFHR #67, but which effectively ended the session.
Once again, the top ten showed a parity of drivers from Hodna and Chevrolet with five apiece, although the Chevys seemed to have inched forward toward the front. The highest Lotus runner was HVM's Simona de Silvestro in 19th place, over a second off the lead. However, the Lotus Dragon car of Sebastien Bourdais did at least appear to have a bit of an edge over other, faster cars in some of the twistier sections of the track.
After putting in an impressive tenth position in the earlier session, Dale Coyne Racing's James Jakes managed only 5 laps in this later practice period and firmly at the bottom of the timings, after brushing the same spot on the exit of turn 10 as Kimball subsequently did.
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