Thursday, Apr 25 02:56pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Scott Dixon among front runners at Indianapolis 500 test

Five-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was sixth in the veterans’ test session ahead of this year’s 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.


The test on the 2.5-mile oval saw 29 drivers take to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and get their first proper taste of oval racing this season.


The seasoned regulars got the track first before the rookie run took place in the afternoon.


Scattered showers bogged down proceedings occasionally but by the end of the session it was Takuma Sato who was quickest of all.


The ex-Formula 1 driver and winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 was comfortable by the end of the day in the Rahal Lettermen Lannigan entry.


“The program was interrupted and stopped a few times,” Sato said of the rain.


“Having said that, today is meant to shake down the car, just check all the functions OK, feel it out. From that point of view, I think it was a very smooth day.”

Other than the occasional shower the day ran without incident. Last year’s pole sitter Ed Carpenter was second in the only car-owner-driver entry. Spencer Pigot was third while Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay completed the top five.


Scott Dixon ran sixth quickest in the session just 0.2439 adrift of Sato. Former teammate Ed Jones was seventh, Simon Pagenaud eighth, Sebastien Bourdais ninth, and Alexander Rossi the final driver inside the top 10.


Less than a second covered first through to 18th but Sato was a tenth quicker than second placed Carpenter.


“It was a little odd, but all in all, it was good,” Carpenter said.


“We got a decent amount of stuff done, not everything we wanted to do – just with the pauses and intermissions.


“At the end of the day, I think we ran more than what I thought we were going to the first time it started raining.


“It kind of sets us up for a decent starting place for when we come back for the full week of practice. It’s still good to get that physical gratification and confidence back that things are looking all right.”


The rookie and refresher session in the afternoon was led by Colton Herta who became the youngest race winner in the IndyCar Series at Circuit of the Americas earlier this year.


Helio Castroneves was second for Team Penske, Orial Servia third, Felix Rosenqvist fourth in his first time driving an IndyCar on an oval and Conor Daly fifth.


Fernando was ninth and last for McLaren on their return to the Indianapolis 500. Electrical issues plagued their progress.


“For us, obviously, we lost a little bit of time at the beginning,” he said.


“This was more or less expected because, as I said, it was a brand new chassis, brand new car. Everything fit in the last week.


“We expect to run slowly, step by step, short runs at the beginning. It's what we did.


“If we could probably have (run) the (install) laps at midday, maybe you discover these issues, then you have hours to work in the car, be ready for the afternoon.


“The weather delays everything. You do the lap at 5:30 p.m. and there is no room to get back on track on time.”


Teams and drivers will now shift their attention towards the IndyCar Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, which takes place over 9-11 May. 


CLICK HERE for open practice results


CLICK HERE for rookie and refresher results