"We are pleased to see this issue resolved as we head into the final practice days in advance of qualifying," said the CEO of IndyCar, Randy Bernard. "I have to thank all parties for working together to help preserve the traditions of the Indianapolis 500."
Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais immediately took to the track in a specially arranged 90 minute session this morning between 8am and 9.30am. He had been asked to take a 'refresher course' since it's been seven years since his last run in competition on the speedway oval, and he duly completed two of the three phases of the Rookie Orientation Program during the session as he can consistent laps in the 205-210mph range.
"I'm happy to be out there, but the problem is we have two days to get it figured out," said Bourdais, admitting that he "wasn't feeling so good this morning" in his first time out with a Chevy engine that had been fitted into the Dragon chassis in just the last 24 hours. "It's the loosest I've been, ever. But, what do we expect? It's a new car and the first time we're on an oval."
Even more pressing that Bourdais' refresher program is Katherine Legge's mandatory Rookie Orientation Program, which is required before she can formally enter qualifying on Saturday. The plan had been for Legge to start ROP this morning, but the team instead opted to keep Bourdais out on track and use his greater experience to try and give the car a better set-up and make it more stable before sending Legge out for her own laps.
Finding time to get Legge out on track to complete the program will be a challenge, but today's late engine deal shows that all parties are clearly determined to make it happen and ensure that the 2012 indianapolis 500 starts with a full 33-car grid if at all possible.