ALONSO FINDS COMFORT ZONE
IndyCar rookie fires warning shot on Fast Friday
FRENCHMAN Sebastien Bourdais posted the top speed while IndyCar rookie Fernando Alonso fired a warning shot on the final day of practice on Friday before yesterday’s qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.
Bourdais, who spent parts of two seasons in Formula One with Toro Rosso, posted the fastest lap of 375.164kmph around the famed super speedway on what is known as ‘Fast Friday’.
Yesterday’s qualifying had 33 spots on the starting grid for the May 28 race up for grabs. The fastest nine cars will battle for pole today.
The Frenchman was the only driver to crack 372.8kmph with American Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy 500 winner, posting the second best effort of 371.441kmph.
“Never a bad day when you’re at the front,” smiled Bourdais. “It’s pretty exciting just to be in the mix knowing that we seemingly have a chance to do well in qualifying.
Japan’s Takuma Sato was third quickest with a 371.150kmph and Alonso fourth best with 370.923kmph in his McLaren Andretti Autosport Honda.
It was a particularly impressive performance from the Spaniard given the two-time Formula One champion had never driven an IndyCar before this week with the exception of one brief test earlier in May.
The effort impressed his Alonso’s Andretti Autosport teammate Sato, who also had considerable experience in Formula One with Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri, before making the jump to IndyCar.
“I think it’s very impressive,” Sato told reporters. “Although, it’s what you expected, what we expected, to be honest.
“Fernando is one of the best drivers in the world. I think we expected him to be up to speed very quickly.
“Obviously today is something new for him again. Fast Friday you break 230 miles (368km) per hour for the first time. He did drive extremely well.”
Alonso has endured a miserable F1 season with McLaren, who have struggled with an unreliable and uncompetitive Honda engine and are the only team on the grid yet to score a point after five races.
Honda, however, have dominated at the Brickyard powering 11 of the top 12 cars on Fast Friday, including the top four. Reuters Jack Miller in action on his Estrella Galicia Marc VDS during a free practice session for the French Grand Prix, in Le Mans on Friday. AFP PIC
Fernando Alonso climbs over the pit wall during practice for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday.