KV Racing Technology team-mates Will Power and Oriol Servia swept the top two spots on the first day of practice for the Rexall Edmonton Indy event as the Champ Car converts used the previous knowledge of the airport circuit to good effect.

Although this weekend's fourth running is the IndyCar Series' first visit to the 14-turn 'street' circuit, eight drivers - including Power and Servia - competed at the venue during the three Champ Car events there, and the Australian showed his potential for a good result by setting the opening day benchmark at 1min 02.3404secs, with Servia less than five-hundredths of a second off the pace.

"It was obviously a day to get used to the set-up of [an IndyCar Series car], and it's much different than a Champ Car," Power - last year's polewinner at Edmonton - revealed, "But the team's done a great job and we arrived here with a reasonable set-up. It was dusty this morning but, as the weekend goes on, the track does grip up. It's dusty off-line but, for qualifying, I think it will be rubbered up.

"We definitely improved after the first session, and I think we're in a much better position than we were last week at this time. It would be nice if we could repeat this in qualifying with another 1-2. We're looking for a solid result to get some solid points, since we can't perform this well on the ovals."

"At Mid-Ohio, we expected to be competitive and, after the first day we were 19th and 20th," Servia reflected, "The team did a great job for Saturday and we picked up the pace and, on Sunday, we were up there with the best. Coming here, to a place that we know, it feels good to be top of the timesheets, but we need to keep pushing. The other guys are only on their first day here, and they're big teams with very good drivers. I'm pretty sure they're going to be pushing pretty hard tomorrow."

The Champ Car converts didn't have things all their own way, however, with Team Penske team-mates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe claiming third and fourth, before Justin Wilson and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing rounding out the top five.

"I think the track is great - and it's proven to be very challenging as well," Castroneves commented, "We used the practice sessions to familiarise ourselves with the course and just find the lines out there. Our main goal today was to find out what the Team Penske car can do on this circuit. Now that we know, we'll use tomorrow to see how much we can push that limit. Overall, I think we had a good day, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there."

"It's an exciting circuit to say the least," team-mate Briscoe echoed, "It's bumpy, with a lot of fast corners, and it's pretty technical - there's not a lot of room for error, which is why we saw so many guys get in the tyre barriers today. I think we had a good start here and, hopefully, we can keep it going tomorrow."

Wilson is a previous winner at Edmonton, but refused to speculate on whether the NHLR team would be a contender based purely on practice times.

"I think the McDonald's team is reasonably okay in terms of set-up, but it's difficult to know when other people ran old tyres versus new ones," the Briton explained, "We know when we have and haven't, and we feel like we are reasonably competitive, but I would like to feel a bit more confidence from the car.

"It's not where I think we can be, and we have a little work to do, but we're on old tyres running fifth, so I'm reasonably happy with it. This car bounces around a lot more than the Champ Car did, and there doesn't seem to be as much grip on the track, so it's very difficult to drive. I think everyone is seeing that, based on how many cars are spinning off. It's making life tough, but we're going to have to try to make the most of it. I think the race is going to be interesting."

Points leader Scott Dixon was sixth fastest on day one, complaining of a lack of grip and balance from the leading Target Chip Ganassi car, complaints repeated by seventh-placed Tony Kanaan. In eighth, however, returnee Paul Tracy was happy with what he and the hybrid Walker/Vision team had achieved on their first day of action for almost four months. The former Champ Car champion passed his physical before the morning session and was allowed to turn a few laps prior to practice for a systems check.

"It went as well as you could hope for," the Canadian admitted, "We hoped to come in and have the car run all day, and we did that. The crew did a great job as they had a very small amount of time to get the car ready - only a couple of weeks - so Derrick [Walker] and his group did a great job. Tony [George] gave us this car to use but, going from an oval set-up to a road course set-up, it was missing a lot of the bits, so we're pleasantly satisfied with how it went. I haven't driven since Long Beach, and I haven't driven much at all - I've had one test day - since Surfers [Paradise] last year. Hopefully, things will come back a little easier tomorrow and we can work on the race set-up. It's going to be a tough one."

Two other drivers who raced at Edmonton in last year's CCWS, Graham Rahal and Bruno Junqueira, rounded out the top ten, with the American still chasing the right feeling from his car, now bearing the logos of both event sponsor Rexall and the local Edmonton Oilers ice hockey team.

"The start of the day was all right, but I think we were a little too far off in terms of set-up," Rahal said, "This is such a different car than we are used to here. We showed up, and the car was bottoming like crazy. It was like getting punched in the face ten times a lap, and it hurts. But we were close enough that we decided to make this afternoon's session a little bit of a test session.

"We went out on a limb and tried some things, and now we are a heck of a lot closer than we were at the start of the day. We're pretty happy with that but, of course, we still need to find a little more speed, and we still need to work on some stability issues, but we have tonight to think about it. Then we'll try to shoot for pole tomorrow - or at least try to make it through all the rounds, because I can't seem to make it through to the second round this year even if we are quick."

Dan Wheldon, Watkins Glen winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and the improving Mario Moraes were next up, but there was no joy for HVM's Ernesto Viso, who managed just nine laps all day on a track unfamiliar to him, ending the day 26th fastest with only Marty Roth behind him.