16 May 2012
Indy 500: Andretti pushes speeds over 223mph
Some concerted pack-racing practice by the Andretti Autosport cars on Tuesday pushed Marco Andretti to the top of the speed charts with a lap of 223.676mph at Indianapolis.
Andretti Autosport was true to its word on Tuesday, and focussed on some co-ordinated pack racing to see how their squad of five cars was able to work together on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
As a result, Marco Andretti was the first man of the week to get over the 223mph mark, with a lap of 40.2367s (223.676mph) putting him well ahed of Penske's Helio Castroneves (40.5359s, 222.025mph) and Andretti's team mate James Hinchcliffe (40.5653s, 221.854mph) in the Go.Daddy.com car, and Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth fastest (40.5746s, 22.814mph) just behind Ganassi's Graham Rahal.
"I'm really pleased with where we are at with the race car so far," said Marco. "I have just been really working on the car in a pack, and just trying to stay flat in traffic. We have the car to the point now that I am confident to say we would be the ones to beat if the race was today."
However, he warned: "The speed on its own, I'm a little concerned about." But he was optimistic for the race nonetheless, adding: "I've said it before, I'll say it again, if we start 33rd, we can still win this race."
"It was a pretty reasonable day for the GoDaddy car, we went out early and had some reasonable speed on our own and then focused on the race from there on out," said Hinchcliffe of the view of the day from the cockpit of the #27. "We're running in bigger and bigger packs now and learning more about this car because it's still so unknown in a proper race condition, but you can see by the end of the day where everyone has the same mindset compared to last year.
"We're running a lot more in traffic earlier in the week than we were," he continued. "It's just a function of everybody working to figure out what the car will do on Race Day. We have three cars in the top five, so we're clearly reasonable in traffic and on our own with a couple cars, so we'll just keep chipping away at it."
"I think we found some good speed," contributed Hunter-Reay, calling it "another productive day" for the DHL/SunDrop-badged #28 car. "The good thing about the Andretti Autosport cars is we're up toward the top when we're running alone and up toward the top when we're in a pack. Things are going as planned, and we still have a long week to go. I'd say we're 90 percent focused on the race and 10 percent on qualifying at the moment, and that will change on Friday."
Graham Rahal was the fastest Honda-powered car of the day with a lap of 40.5671s (221.855mph) although he was less thrilled about how hard and fast everyone was pushing in packs so early in the Indy 500 practice week.
"It was incredibly hectic, but I don't know. Maybe a sign of things to come ... To me, it was almost a little too much for a day like today," he said. "I got a good run put up there early, and I had a couple of more I could have put up there that would have been better than that, but there were a lot of bold moves out there, especially for a practice session, that's for sure.
Simona de Silvestro
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