Rookie Pippa Mann once again proved that she was more than a match for the boys by topping the times in Firestone Indy Lights testing for the second day running at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

While last season may have shown that there may have been no better team on ovals than Panther Racing, Mann is doing her bit to prove that the same may be true in 2009, after laying down a lap of 28.4776secs to out-pace 19 others running at the 1.5-mile Florida circuit.

"I'm really, really pleased," said Mann, who also topped Monday's rookie session, "My car has been really fast every time I've been in it on both days. I can't not be happy with how we ran. I hope when we get to the race weekend, we have a similar performance."

The Briton, who switches to the Lights category after two years in the European-based World Series by Renault had said that running with more cars may prove to be a bigger test than Monday's session, but reckons that she coped okay.

"It's been a huge learning experience, but I got better running in traffic," she commented, "I haven't got used to that aspect of it yet, so that's something that I still need to work on. However I'm pleased that we managed to avoid incidents, and we seem to have a much better grip on making the car handle when it's windy. It has been a great start to our pre-season preparations, and I hope our progress continues."

Irish rookie Ali Jackson emerged second fastest after leading most of the morning session with a lap at 187.488mph, while fellow rookies Sebastian Saavedra, Martin Plowman and Mario Romancini rounded out the top five, despite the arrival of several series 'veterans' for their first official outing of the new season.

"We had a good start of a day," Jackson said, "I got a good tow off of Mann and then Pippa, pardon the pun, pipped us at the end. Then we had a mechanical issue. We broke an input shaft and lost a lot of time, but that's not the fault of the team. It's just one of those things. But we're still quick, so I'm happy."

Ana Beatriz, running with Sam Schmidt Motorsport, was the fastest veteran driver, recording a best lap of 186.418mph, but there was disappointing news for Bryan Herta Autosport rookie Daniel Herrington, who saw his test cut short by the only incident of the session.

The rear of the #28 car made contact with the SAFER Barrier in turn two and, while not seriously damaged, the impact was enough to end the first test for IRL racewinner Bryan Herta's new operation.

"We had made two pretty big changes to the car and went out hoping it would be better," Herrington said, "I think we got caught out by the wind, which had picked up quite a bit since we made the changes. In retrospect, maybe we could have been more conservative and not made such a big change, but we got away with not too much problem."

JR Hildebrand, in company with James Hinchcliffe and members of the AGR/AFS crew, appeared on day two of the test after flying in from South Africa, where they had been on duty at the A1GP round at Kyalami.

"It was great getting back into the car since I couldn't get much seat time at the last test we did," Hildebrand admitted, "Today, we went though many different set-ups, and I really wanted to learn the track, so we weren't trying to put up the fastest time. We were trying to get the idea of what I need from the car, what I needed from the team and what they needed from me.

"We didn't really hit the nail on the head, but we were able get some great information from the session. We will take the information home and see what we can do to improve for the start of the season."

The next official Lights test will take place on 23 March at the Barber Motorsports Park.



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