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Power paces first practice in Houston

Penske's Will Power was a full quarter of a second faster than the rest of the field as the IndyCar drivers had their first practice session in Houston.
CLICK: Full practice 1 results

Will Power set the pace in the first of two 45 minute practice sessions on Friday ahead of this weekend's Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.

The Penske driver set a time of 1:00.4427s (97.322mph) on the 1.634-mile, 10-turn temporary street circuit, putting him 0.2529s clear of Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsport's Simon Pagenaud who claimed runner-up honours ahead of KVSH Racing's Sebastien Bourdais.

"You have to be very aggressive on the street courses because that's where the speed is," said Power. "You have to have good strategy. Aside from a part failure, having the wrong strategy can keep you from winning more than anything."

Power won the second race in last year's Houston doubleheader, which took place later in the year in October. Moving the race to mid-summer this year has given rise to concerns about the effect of the blistering Texas heat, although Friday was relatively cool and there is even a threat of rain for later on Friday. However the forecast for the rest of the weekend is dry - and hot.

In total, 16 of the 23 cars at work this weekend were within one second of Power's flying lap in first practice, including former GP2 driver Luca Filippi who is making his debit for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing this weekend.

There were five different teams in the top five, with AJ Foyt Racing's Takuma Sato in fourth place and Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Tony Kanaan in fifth. In the manufacturer stakes, Chevrolet were just ahead with six cars in the top ten to Honda's four.

The session saw a brief red flag while an issue with a track seam was attended to. The organisers will also look at grinding down one of the kerbs on the course overnight after Power was sent airborne midway through the session.

In addition, there was a minor racing incident when Graham Rahal was caught out by a slow-running Scott Dixon, and the RLL #15 ended up making light contact with the rear of the Ganassi #9 car.

A second 45-minute practice is scheduled for 2pm local time (8pm BST), and it will be followed by a ten-minute standing-start practice for Saturday's race 1.

Qualifying for race 1 will take place at 10am (4pm BST) on Saturday morning with the race itself getting underway at 2.45pm (8.45pm BST). In the UK, the race will be shown live on ESPN.

Full practice 1 results

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Will Power on track in Practice 1. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power prepares to go out in Practice 1. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Will Power - Team Penske
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Simon Penske - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar media/Bret Kelley]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Will Power - Penske  [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Will Power - Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Jones]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Bret Kelley]
Sebastian Bourdais (KVSH Racing) celebrates in Detroit   [image creid: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Sebastian Bourdais - KVSH Racing   [image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske Chevrolet [credit: IndyCar/Bret Kelly]

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