IndyCar »

Hunter-Reay back on top in final Mid-Ohio practice

Ryan Hunter-Rey topped the final practice session before the Saturday afternoon qualifying session for this weekend's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
CLICK: Full practice 3 results from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Having finished Friday's two practice sessions with the fastest lap on the timesheets, Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up where he left off by slicing more than eight tenths of a second off his previous best time to emerge quickest in Saturday's sole practice at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course ahead of qualifying.

Hunter-Reay's time in the morning session was 1:05.7082s (123.711s) compared with his lap of 1:06.5316s (122.180mph) on Friday at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road course. It put him almost a tenth of a second ahead of Ganassi's Scott Dixon who was second-fastest in the 45-minute morning practice.

A late flying lap meant that Justin Wilson was only a fraction off that in third place for Dale Coyne Racing, and after that there was another tenth of a second back to the fourth-fastest man Simon Pagenaud in the Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsport #77.

"We were quick yesterday and we're quick this morning so hopefully we can translate that into what we need when it counts," said Wilson. "That's the key is doing it when it counts. So we'll see what we can do. It's very close right now with the times and one small mistake can catch you out in qualifying."

The session was slightly delayed while an oil spillage from a support race was attended to on pit lane. Once proceedings got underway, everyone improved their times on Saturday compared with their previous outings: of the 22 drivers, all but one were within two-thirds of a second of Hunter-Reay's benchmark time, indicating a very competitive and closely-matched field for Sunday's Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Only Jack Hawksworth was outside that range, and in fact he was 1.3237s off the leader's pace as the Bryan Herta Autosport team struggled to get a set-up that suited the driver and the course. There was only a single red flag stoppage this time, after KV AFS Racing's Sebastian Saavedra went off the track in turn 12 and needed retrieving.

Penske appeared to be continuing a curiously low-profile strategy, with leading championship contenders Will Power and Helio Castroneves down in 11th and 15th places respectively, neither man having yet finished in the top ten in any of the times practice sessions at Mid-Ohio. The third member of the Penske squad, Juan Pablo Montoya, was even further back in 18th position in third practice, which is the last chance the cars get to fine-tune their cars before qualifying gets underway.

Showers are forecast to sweep the are shortly before qualifying which will take place at 2pm local time (7pm BST) and follow the familiar format for street and road course events in the Verizon IndyCar Series. That means the field is split into two 11-car groups from which the top six in each progresses to round 2 which consists of a single ten-minute session. The top six from this group go forward to the third and final round, which is the Firestone Fast Six pole shootout.

There will also be a further half-hour warm-up session on Sunday morning before the race itself, which takes place at 3.50pm local time (8.50pm BST) on Sunday afternoon.

See full practice 3 results from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Scott Dixon rolls through the Turn 12 Carousel during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson on course during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon Road America
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Will Power Texas
Detroit IndyCar Andretti RHR
Detroit IndyCar Helio Castroneves
Scott Dixon Indy 500
Sebastien Bourdais Indy 500 practice
Helio Castroneves 2017 Indy 500 practice
Jack Harvey feature
Jack Harvey
Jack Harvey feature image
Jack Harvey feature image
Jack Harvey feature image
Scott Dixon [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon Indy 500 qualifying

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.