Frank Perera celebrated his graduation to the Champ Car World Series in perfect style by leading the way during the opening pre-season test session of the year at Sebring.

The Champ Car Atlantic graduate posted the quickest time over the course of the two and half day test session, gradually improving over the course of the test before setting his quickest lap - a 49.806secs - on the final day.

"It's been great!" he said. "Everything is new right now, a new season, a new team, a new track but we did a pretty good three days. It was not easy because we had a short time to prepare everything but I think this is a very strong team with very talented and experienced people. We progressed well, it was like a crescendo, each session we were faster.

"We tested many things for each phase of a race weekend and we were pretty fast in all of them. It's good to show that we can already fight with the top guys but there is still more work and preparation to be done before the start of the season."

Things didn't quite go to plan for Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who joined the team for the test to drive the second car. The former Team Australia man struggled to get comfortable in the car and could only end the test down in ninth place, although he said he was looking to improve during the next test at Laguna Seca.

"The team has been doing a great job," he said. "Overall we had very good communication throughout the test. We've been working really well together and everybody is really enthusiastic. It's a good team and it's very enjoyable to work with everybody here.

"The good thing is that Franck did very good lap times so we know the car is quick and that we have a good set-up. It was a bit more difficult for me as we were unable to find a good comfort level in the car, but the Conquest guys will take a look at the data and I hope that I can be back in Laguna and back up front."


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