IRL: Motegi: Panoz G Force Thursday report

Teamwork Pays Off for Rahal Trio of Panoz G Force Drivers Twin Ring Motegi, Japan, 14 April 2004 This was a good day for a trio Panoz G Force drivers, as the Indy Racing League's premier IndyCar Series competitors began practice for the 2nd ...

Teamwork Pays Off for Rahal Trio of Panoz G Force Drivers

Twin Ring Motegi, Japan, 14 April 2004 This was a good day for a trio Panoz G Force drivers, as the Indy Racing League's premier IndyCar Series competitors began practice for the 2nd annual Japan Indy 300 at the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval northwest of Tokyo.

By the close of the dual session test, three Team Rahal drivers carried the day for Panoz G Force. Buddy Rice earned the fifth quickest lap of 27.134 seconds (201.662mph) in the #15 Pioneer/Argent Mortgage Panoz G Force/Honda, the Arizona native is driving in relief of injured Kenny Brack. Rice remarked the team is "looking very good with three cars here. We're able to exchange information and this is a huge help for the team."

Vitor Meira, in his first start in the #17 Team Rahal Panoz G Force/Honda and his initial drive using the package, netted the sixth quickest lap around this egg-shaped oval at 27.201 seconds (201.171mph). The Brazilian, who has a one-race deal with this team "was not expecting to be this good right away. I am new to the team and the team is new to the series," the Brazilian remarked. "After the very first lap I felt the car was very, very good and I was comfortable with it."

Sophomore IndyCar driver Roger Yasukawa was seventh-best today at 27.238 seconds (200.894mph) in his #16 Sammy Panoz G Force/Honda as Honda drivers earned all but one of the top seven times. After a seven- month layoff, Yasukawa's enthusiasm was palpable. "We've had a really good day. The car feels good and I just want to fine-tune it for qualifying and the race. It feels very good to be back in the car and having teammates helps."

In the morning practice session, Scott Dixon was fastest in the #1 Team Target Panoz G Force/Toyota he utilized to gain last year's pole position. Yet, with five minutes remaining in the morning test, Dixon clouted the Turn 4 wall and sustained a non-displaced hairline fracture to the tip of his left ankle's fibula. He was treated at hospital and will be evaluated in the morning.

Friday qualifying determines the grid for Saturday afternoon's Japan Indy 300, which will broadcast live in the US on ESPN2 at 11:30PM EDT.

-emt-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Kenny Brack , Roger Yasukawa , Buddy Rice , Vitor Meira