IRL: Franchitti Test in the West notes 2003-02-07

Franchitti sixth quick at PIR. AVONDALE, Arizona (February 7, 2003) -- Dario Franchitti posted the sixth quickest time today at the Indy Racing League's Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway. The 29-year-old Scotsman posted a best...

Franchitti sixth quick at PIR.

AVONDALE, Arizona (February 7, 2003) -- Dario Franchitti posted the sixth quickest time today at the Indy Racing League's Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway. The 29-year-old Scotsman posted a best lap of 174.362 mph (20.6467 seconds) in his #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone completing 89 laps around the chilly 1-mile desert oval.

Cold temperatures delayed the start of the morning practice session by an hour, which gave the Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola crew a chance to work on its pit stops specifically practicing the fuel vent hose and air jack system. Once on the track, the team focused finding a solid balance for the car, working with both aerodynamic and mechanical grip.

Helio Castroneves led today's practice session with a speed of 175.907 mph (20.4654 seconds). Kenny Brack was second at 175.641 mph (20.4964 seconds) and Felipe Giaffone rounded out the top three with a speed of 175.408 mph (20.5236 seconds). Franchitti's technical partners Tony Kanaan and Michael Andretti were fifth and seventh fastest respectively for Team 7-Eleven. Kanaan posted a best speed of 174.463 mph (20.6438 seconds) while Andretti turned a quick lap at 174.094 mph (20.6785 seconds).

The Test in the West will continue tomorrow at Phoenix International Raceway. The Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola crew will continue its Indy Racing League pre-season testing program in preparation for the season opening event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Dario Franchitti, Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola:
"We started off pretty well this morning but then we kind of lost our way a bit in the afternoon. Towards the end of the session we had worked our way back but we're still learning. Today was a bit of a struggle for us. The car feels a lot different from when we tested here last month. At our previous test here in Phoenix I was able to go flat all the way around the track and we weren't able to do that today."

Allen McDonald Race Engineer, Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola
"We are still basically learning. We have a steep learning curve with these cars and the IndyCar Series and we are going through a lot of things trying to understand how the car reacts. We learned a lot today and we have a lot of data to look at tonight to make the car better for tomorrow."

-AGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack