Alonso ‘not com­fort­able’ yet at Indy 500

New Straits Times - - Sport -

TORONTO: Fer­nando Alonso said on Wed­nes­day he is not yet com­fort­able with oval rac­ing as the Span­ish driver races to cram years of learn­ing into a few weeks of prepa­ra­tion for this year’s In­di­anapo­lis 500.

Alonso, a two-time For­mula One world cham­pion who only set­tled into the cock­pit of an IndyCar for the first time two weeks ago, said he has plenty of work to do be­fore be­ing ready for the May 28 race.

“Happy where I am now ... but def­i­nitely not com­fort­able,” Alonso told re­porters ahead of Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice at the sprawl­ing 4.02 km oval speed­way.

Alonso, 35, had his first test ses­sion in an IndyCar two weeks ago and on Mon­day dur­ing his first of­fi­cial prac­tice set the pace in the rookie ori­en­ta­tion ses­sion with a speed of 354.614kmph.

He then got a taste of what com­pet­ing in “The Great­est Spec­ta­cle in Rac­ing” is like on Tues­day as nearly all 33 cars were on the track at once for what is known as ‘Happy Hour.’

Speed­ing around the track in traf­fic gave Alonso a closer glimpse into oval rac­ing and he said he was start­ing to get used to what he de­scribed as a strange feel­ing given the dif­fer­ent tech­nique needed to drive an IndyCar.

“Ob­vi­ously if you de­velop your whole ca­reer in the For­mula One in Europe, you come here, in the oval rac­ing, the car felt not nat­u­ral to drive be­cause, you know, the car turns left by it­self,” said Alonso. “That’s a lit­tle bit strange when you ap­proach turn one in the first lap.

“But I had a good prepa­ra­tion in the sim­u­la­tor, a lot of in­for­ma­tion from the team in the last cou­ple of weeks. So I think I ar­rive a lit­tle bit pre­pared for the feel­ing that I was sup­posed to have.”

Alonso flew di­rectly to In­di­anapo­lis from Barcelona af­ter a 12th place fin­ish at his home Span­ish Grand Prix on Sun­day ahead of what has been a whirl­wind few days.

“The learn­ing laps yes­ter­day in traf­fic were very use­ful. I’m on the sim­u­la­tor in the morn­ings, on the car here in the af­ter­noons. So plenty of time, plenty of run­ning,” said Alonso.

“Not ready yet, but I think I will (be) for qual­i­fy­ing in the race.” Reuters

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