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Barrichello gets first taste of ovals in test

Rubens Barrichello was one of 11 drivers testing at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday, giving the former F1 driver his first test of running over 200mph on ovals.
With just days to go before action gets underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of this year's 96th running of the Indy 500, Rubens Barrichello found himself going round and round in circles for the first time - very fast - at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.

"Last night I went to sleep thinking about it," said the former F1 driver. "When I woke up I was on the other side of the bed, so I already was ovaling in my dreams!"

Admitting that it was completely different from anything he'd ever tried, he broke the 200mph barrier on his second run after Tony Kanaan had earlier "broken in" the KV Racing Technology car to get him started. He said it was a good job that the radio broadcast wasn't been retransmitted anywhere, because it hadn't exactly been in the cleanest language possible.

"I said it was truly awesome, but not in a good manner!" he joked. "I was very rude on the radio because I was so excited." The driving - if not the language - was good enough to satisfy IndyCar officials as to Barrichello's ability to perform safely on ovals.

Other than Barrichello, there were ten other drivers working in Texas at a 6.5 hour test that was open to the public to attend, and which was split into morning and afternoon sessions. All four Ganassi drivers were present (Scott Dixon topping the timesheets ahead of Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti, with Graham Rahal a little further back) as were all three Penske drivers (Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe.)

Ed Carpenter was looking happy to be back on the ovals he knows best after the first four street and road track races of the 2012 season, while AJ Foyt team mates Mike Conway and Wade Cunningham were also in action.

Dixon pronounced himself "pleasantly surprised" with the options available to him on the new Dallara DW12 chassis for oval running, which includes new aerokits specifically created for running on speedway.

"Coming here today and having the car in a situation where you can take a lot of downforce off it's pretty difficult," he said. "Qualifying could actually be difficult for a change."

"It will be exciting, but more on the safe side," reported Castroneves. "The car is much more safe."

IndyCar's vice president of technology, Will Phillips, was also pleased with what he was seeing and said that lap times were closing on where they had been with the old specification car.

"Comparing it to the old car, we're not that far off," he said. "We're running as much as 70 horsepower less than the old car, so the efficiency of the car is significantly improved."

Practice times

1. #9 Scott Dixon (H) 212.371mph 24.6644s Practice 1 (104 laps)
2. #83 Charlie Kimball (H) 211.330mph 24.7859s Practice 2 (111 laps)
3. #10 Dario Franchitti (H) 210.525mph 24.8807s Practice 2 (129 laps)
4. #12 Will Power (C) 210.367mph 24.8994s Practice 2 (137 laps)
5. #20 Ed Carpenter (C) 210.078mph 24.9336s Practice 1 (98 laps)
6. #38 Graham Rahal (H) 210.011mph 24.9416s Practice 2 (119 laps)
7. #3 Helio Castroneves (C) 209.076mph 25.0531s Practice 2 (112 laps)
8. #2 Ryan Briscoe (C) 207.886mph 25.1965s Practice 2 (111 laps)
9. #14 Mike Conway (H) 207.508mph 25.2424s Practice 1 (40 laps)
10. #14 Wade Cunningham (H) 206.986mph 25.3060s Practice 2 (68 laps)
11. #8 Rubens Barrichello (C) 206.848mph 25.3230s Practice 2 (123 laps)
12. #8 Tony Kanaan (C) 205.045mph 25.5456s Practice 2 (20 laps)

(C) = CHevrolet, (H) = Honda, (L) = Lotus
Total Laps for Combined Sessions: 1172



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
IndyCar vice president of technology Will Phillips. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing Technology) (c) 2012 Michael L. Levitt, LAT Photo (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Tony Kanaan sits in Rubens Barrichello`s KV Racing Technology car, getting it ready for the F1 veteran`s oval début in open testing at Texas Motor Speedway ahead of the start of the build-up for the Indianapolis 500. [Picture credit: Rubens Barrichello/Twitter]
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe go wheel-to-wheel during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon streaks across the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon crosses the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power sits on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud preps on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand prior to track activity during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon leaves pit lane (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Crossing the start/finish line during testing (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Cars jostling for position through turn 2 during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Racewa (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon takes the twin chequered flags to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his win in Victory Circle after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)

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