IRL: Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Homestead test notes

Yasukawa continues to impress in pre-season testing. HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 18, 2003) -- Super Aguri Fernandez Racing concluded its pre-season testing program today with rookie talent Roger Yasukawa spending two days aboard the ...

Yasukawa continues to impress in pre-season testing.

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 18, 2003) -- Super Aguri Fernandez Racing concluded its pre-season testing program today with rookie talent Roger Yasukawa spending two days aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone during the IndyCar Series open test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Yasukawa claimed the fourth-fastest time slot yesterday with a best lap of 26.5158 seconds (203.652 mph), completing 103 laps on the 1.5-mile oval. He posted the sixth-quickest time of the 20 drivers on track this morning -- 26.5572 seconds (203.335 mph) -- logging an additional 81 laps.

"It was a very good test for us," said Yasukawa. "We worked on the balance of the car for the race and I think we have a pretty good setup to start with when we come back to Homestead. The team is doing a great job. Overall, we put in some good lap times and I am pretty happy."

The team elected to spend the final practice session today focusing on pit stop practice, a new challenge for Yasukawa.

"I am getting more used to pit stops," added Yasukawa, who ended up 11th quickest on the charts. "It is a lot different in that, after running at high speeds, you come into the pits and the world is a lot slower. You have to set your mind to that. At the same time you have things to do while you are in pit lane so you have to be focused. I am trying to get to the point where everything comes naturally. We did a lot of pit stop practice today and that really helped."

Super Aguri Fernandez Racing will return to Homestead next week for the IRL IndyCar Series season-opener on March 2. Managing Director Tom Anderson is cautiously optimistic as he looks towards the start of the 16-race schedule.

"No matter how well you prepare during testing, the fact is that you have only tested," Anderson said. "Until you race, you really don't know where you stand. We did as much as we could in the time allowed and within the restrictions on tires, as we need to balance our quota of Firestones over the course of the season.

"As far as the group as a whole, I am very pleased with the attitude and the morale, which is very high. I would attribute that to the working relationship between John [Dick, race engineer] and Roger and in the success that they have had in going fast. We are faster than probably anyone expected us to be and I think it is John's experience that has helped that and Roger's mental capabilities in adapting to the changes of a new series very quickly. It is a great combination and I am really looking forward to going racing with these guys."

Yasukawa echoed Anderson's comments on his new race engineer: "Our relationship is going great. John is teaching me a lot about the engineering and car aspects. He has done a great job from Day One. The most important thing is that he understands what I am talking about when I am out on the track and when I come into the pits to discuss the car. That was the key to making the car better throughout our testing."

Anderson also commented on the experienced pit crew, led by veteran Chief Mechanic Steve Ragan, and on the team's manufacturing partners.

"Everyone on the pit crew has been over-the-wall before and, although they have never been over as a group before, this has helped shortened our learning curve. In our partners at Dallara, Firestone and Honda, we have experienced people that are all professionals and have worked in many series. Judging by the reliability and power that Honda has displayed so far, I am pretty optimistic about our chances for this coming season."

For additional information, please visit www.superagurifernandezracing.net and www.indyracing.com.

-safr-

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Series IndyCar