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Five complete Indy rookie orientation

Five of the rookies bidding to race in this year's Indianapolis 500 have completed the mandatory Rookie Orientation Program and are ready for practice and qualifying.
Five of the Indianapolis 500 rookies aiming to enter the 96th running of the race have completed the Rookie Orientation Program, required before they are eligible to take part in qualifying.

Josef Newgarden, Bryan Clauson, James Jakes, Simon Pagenaud and Rubens Barrichello are all now cleared to run in the practice sessions that begin on Saturday ahead of next weekend's qualifying.

"I want to thank IndyCar for having the ROP,” said Barrichello after the day's work. "It allows you to progress gradually without too much pressure, so I was at ease with my car and the whole process."

In addition to the formal rookies required to take ROP, Michel Jourdain Jr. completed the same process in the form of a refresher course as this will be his first run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 16 years.

"It's fantastic. I was really enjoying it out there," said Jourdain Jr. "This was a starting point. I wanted to be patient, get through it with not making any stupid mistakes and go little by little. I think we did that."

"Today was all about getting through the test," said Jourdain Jr.'s car owner, Bobby Rahal. "You don't have the car trimmed out - it's just get through it and get on with it. It's as much about making sure we're ready to go on Saturday. I'm really pleased."

Dale Coyne Racing's James Jakes completed ROP last year but then failed to qualify for the race itself. He was asked to re-take ROP again this year, and insisted that he didn't mind in the least after setting the top time of all eight drivers with a best lap of 41.2338s (218.268 mph.)

"It's only ROP, but we sailed through the first three stages and it went well," he said. "I think I would have happy going straight out there, but it's good. You never complain about getting free laps on free tyres, you know. I think it's good, and I think they should maybe have a refresher day for everybody."

Simon Pagenaud's day was briefly interrupted when his car hit a bird, damaging a screen over the radiator intake. The bird, unfortunately, came off worse in the encounter.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dan Wheldon crosses the finish line to win his second Indy 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday May 29, 2011. [Picture credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
The start of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. [Picture credit: Larry Seidman for IndyCar Media]
IZOD IndyCar Series driver Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing Technology) (c) 2012 Michael L. Levitt, LAT Photo (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Pippa Mann sits in her car in pitlane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
James Jakes in the #19 during the Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program on 10 May, 2012. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams.LAT Photo USA [Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA]
Rubens Barrichello during the Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program on 10 May, 2012.(c) 2012, Walt Kuhn.LAT Photo USA [Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA]
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IndyCar, Dallara 2018 chassis, [Credit: IndyCar]
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DGAS - Unregistered

May 12, 2012 12:19 AM

phase 1, drivers have to complete 10 laps at consistent lines and speeds between 200 and 205 mph, phase 2 ups that to 15 laps at speeds ranging from 205 to 210 mph, and phase 3 requires 15 laps at 210 mph and over. Can the Lotus powered cars go that fast?

Coop - Unregistered

May 12, 2012 1:07 PM

Dgas has a point. Unfortunately the teams will trim out downforce to lower the drag as a compensation for lack of HP. This is exactly the wrong remedy for rookie drivers who, ultimately, will end up in the wall.

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