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Power tops Sebring test, Vautier impresses

“I've grown up around Indy cars; I love Indy cars with a passion," said Daly, the son of ex-1 and IndyCar regular Derek Daly who was also present at Sebring to watch the test. "[The team] really wants to get back to winning races, and that's a huge thing to be a part of and I would love to be on that road with them."

"The kid did a real nice job. His feedback was good and he never put a wheel wrong all day," said AJ Foyt himself, the four-time Indy 500 winner making a rare personal appearance at a test session.

With Takuma Sato set to drive for the team next year, it's unlikely that Daly will get a call-up to IndyCar racing anytime soon unless Foyt is able to put together a deal for a second car - not thought to be very likely at this point, but not out of the question, although Daly admitted that he didn't yet have the sort of personal sponsorship backing to make such a deal come about.

“We have had some great sponsors and supporters around us, but it will take more if we want to move up in Europe and also if we can do IndyCar," he said. "Europe has been awesome; I've learned a lot. But the financial backing is something that we don't have to move to the next level."

Daly turns 21 on Saturday and admitted that the chance to test at Sebring this week "was my birthday present," adding that at times it had been a slightly surreal experience.

"One time I was catching Helio and caught Hinch another time and I thought, 'What is this; what am I doing?' These are guys I've looked up to and seen for years!", he laughed.

Daly's performance caught the eye of some of the older hands out on the track - including Will Power himself. "I was impressed by Daly," was the Australian's verdict. "The IndyCar Series could use another good American driver, for sure."

One of the other Americans present - Panther's JR Hildebrand - had a more satisfying day on Thursday after losing almost all the dry running opportunity on Wednesday to brake problems. Graham Rahal also had serious braking issues that prevented him from getting on the pace on Thursday.

The two-day test at Sebring is the final track action for the IZOD IndyCar Series for 2012, with a mandatory ban on further activity for a month until mid-January.

Unofficial lap times

1. #12 Will Power Penske 52.84s
2. #77 Tristan Vautier Schmidt-Hamilton 52.85s
3. #98 Alex Tagliani Bryan Herta Autosport 52.91s
4. #67 Josef Newgarden Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 52.93s
5. #19 Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing 52.94s
6. #9 Scott Dixon Ganassi 52.94 mph
7. #3 Helio Castroneves Penske 53.00s
8. #78 Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology 53.01s
9. #22 Oriol Servia Panther DRR 53.02s
10. #4 JR Hildebrand Panther 53.04s
11. #11 Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology 53.13s
12. #14 Conor Daly AJ Foyt Racing 53.29s
13. #83 Charlie Kimball Ganassi 53.31s
14. #27 James Hinchcliffe Andrettii Autosport 53.34s
15. #15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan 53.48s




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Conor Daly tests at Sebring International Raceway (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Conor Daly tests at Sebring International Raceway (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Conor Daly with AJ Foyt at Sebring International Raceway (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Tristan Vautier testing at Sebring International Raceway (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6,  celebrates winning pole position for the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6,  celebrates winning pole position for the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6,  celebrates winning pole position for the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6,  celebrates winning pole position for the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6,  celebrates winning pole position for the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates posting the fastest time Saturday, July 5, 2014 during qualifying for Sunday`s Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates posting the fastest time Saturday, July 5, 2014 during qualifying for Sunday`s Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, posts the fastest time Saturday, July 5, 2014 during qualifying for Sunday`s Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, posts the fastest time Saturday, July 5, 2014 during qualifying for Sunday`s Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Montoya won the pole and will start in the front row next to teammate Will Power, who qualified second. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power in action at Pocono (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in action at Pocono (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Will Power follows Charlie Kimball through the turn. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power prepares to go out in Practice 1. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power on track in Practice 1. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Sir Charles - Unregistered

December 18, 2012 3:12 PM

Yes, a very impressive test by Vautier! I don't imagine he could keep up that pace at race qualifying though, as I think teams were concentrating more on different set ups rather than scorching lap times.

David Chaste - Unregistered

December 15, 2012 3:56 AM

Rahal had the track all to himself for a few days before the rest of the testers got there. He must have driven the sweet spot out of his car when he was testing on his own. Even if he was having a problem, he should have thought about keeping the car in good condition so he could measure himself against the rest of the field. He's like the best American driver, but it's quite strange that Indycar car doesn't convince one of the big 3 teams to give him a car to shine. Ganassi should have gave him a better car last year. Glad he left them for 2013.



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