A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN Once again France's Franck Montagny ends day in Sebring on top SEBRING, Florida (February 3, 2008) -- If pre-season testing is foretelling as to what will happen during the 2008 Champ Car World Series season, it's safe to...
A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
Once again France's Franck Montagny ends day in Sebring on top
SEBRING, Florida (February 3, 2008) -- If pre-season testing is foretelling as to what will happen during the 2008 Champ Car World Series season, it's safe to say that Forsythe/Pettit Racing will be in the hunt thanks to an exciting newcomer.
For a second consecutive day at Sebring International Raceway, Franck Montagny, driving for Forsythe/Pettit Racing, topped the time charts. The former Formula 1 driver set a lap of 50.209 seconds (119.668 mph), more than half of a second quicker than the fastest time set in the open test that took place in Sebring a year ago.
The Frenchman isn't only quick, he has personality. "The car is really bad," he started off by saying with a big grin on his face. "No, everything is good. For the first time in the car, I'm quite happy. Everybody is very motivated inside the team. I was at the factory working with the engineers, the mechanics and everything was fine but you never know until you get in the car. Obviously things are going well. We did everything we wanted to do. So it's cool, I just hope I will stay in the car for the Championship!"
Justin Wilson was again amongst the top drivers, this time one spot higher than yesterday, in second. Wilson registered his fast lap of 50.448 seconds (119.101 mph) in the afternoon session while his teammate at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, Graham Rahal, put in his best lap in the morning session. His time of 50.474 seconds (119.040 mph) was good for 'first place' after four hours of practice this morning.
Another Franck also continued to show his speed and impress. Perera was fourth fastest overall in his Conquest machine with a lap of 50.495 seconds (118.990 mph). The PKV Racing duo of Oriol Servia and Alex Tagliani followed behind in fifth and sixth as they put in consistent lap times throughout the sessions. Their best times were respectively 50.505 seconds (118.966 mph) and 50.594 seconds (118.757 mph).
Pacific Coast Motorsports' Alex Figge maintained his form with a seventh place thanks to his lap of 50.707 seconds (118.493 mph) while Simon Pagenaud aboard the #34 Conquest Racing car made the biggest jump from yesterday, sliding into eighth place overall with a time of 50.792 seconds (118.294 mph).
"We are getting to where we need to be," said Pagenaud. "Sebring is not my favorite track, it doesn't really show what the car can do. However, I'm pretty happy to see how things were going today. We made a lot of improvement compared to yesterday when we were struggling a little. The car was doing what I wanted at the end of the day, it was just unfortunate that there was so much grip on the track, it was almost not drivable, but I'm happy and the team is doing a really good job."
Paul Tracy in his #3 Indeck Forsythe/Pettit Racing entry was ninth and Bruno Junqueira with Dale Coyne Racing tenth.
A couple of newcomers to the series may have found themselves at or near the top of the speed charts but some others found themselves at the other end of a very competitive field.
Ernesto Viso, testing for a second time with Minardi Team USA said: "So far it is going very good. We are doing a lot of developing of the car. We are changing a lot of things and we are progressing, testing things for the year. Champ Car is cool, it's fun, it's a heavy powerful car and this is a bumpy track, but it's cool! It's different than what I have done before. You never know when the turbo is going to kick in so you have to be ready for the oversteer!"
"It is going well. I think being away from single-seaters for the last two years makes it hard at the beginning" expressed Rocketsports Racings' Enrique Bernoldi. "Everything is completely different. We are making constant progress. We are not yet where we want to be which is closer to the leaders, but we are moving in that direction which is positive. Yesterday I did 103 laps so that was hard physically and today we should do about 100 laps. But it's going well, without major problems and I am confident that with a little bit more work we can be more competitive."
Testing continues tomorrow with half a day of on-track activity.