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First practice falls foul of bad weather

Only nine drivers set lap times in the first practice session on Friday ahead of this weekend's inaugural Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Takuma Sato set the fastest time in a wet first practice session on the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit on Friday, with most drivers opting to keep warm and dry in the garage and not risk damaging their cars in a mostly pointless endeavour.

"At least I enjoy the wet conditions and it's challenging," said Sato. "I like it," he added, while insisting that he still wished it had been a dry session.

Although several hours of rain had mostly stopped by the time the session began, there was still too much standing water out on the track to make representative laps possible. To prove how treacherous it was, Justin Wilson hit the tyre wall at turn 7 shortly before the end of the session causing some light damage to the nose of the #18 Dale Coyne car.

"I didn't think I was that close to the limit, but obviously I was," he said. "I just locked the right front going in."

Sato's time of 1:28.4739s was set after eight laps in the one hour session that ran from noon until 1pm, and was 0.3692s faster that Rubens Barrichello, who got seven laps under his belt before calling time on the endeavour.

Sebastien Bourdais put in the most laps with 14 circulations of the two-mile course, as he attempted to get more experience of the Dragon car with its new Chevrolet engine. Bourdais will be the only driver for the team this weekend, after a lack of engine deals meant that Katherine Legge will now take over the car for oval events.

No Penske drivers fancied coming out to play, and Charlie Kimball was the only Ganassi driver to come out and then just for a solitary installation/shakedown lap.

Full practice 1 times available.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Justin Wilson in the #18 Sonny`s Barbecue Dale Coyne Racing Honda during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
Takuma Sato (#15) during practice at Indianapolis. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams. LAT Photo USA (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
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JOHN - Unregistered

June 01, 2012 9:01 PM

With last weeks big race (Indy500) now done and over with, looks like the big boys are not interested this weekend at Detroit. They would probably prefer not to even bother getting out of bed....

Andrew - Unregistered

June 01, 2012 11:29 PM

No, just no point going out when the track's that wet and risking spinning off and crashing the car for nothing. Not when the forecast for the weekend looks fairly clear.

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