Points leader Montoya fastest in Practice 1

Simon Pagenaud was second on the practice time chart.

Toronto - Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader Juan Pablo Montoya recorded the quickest lap of 1 minute, 0.6343 of a second on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit on the opening day of practice for the Honda Indy Toronto.

Montoya's lap was set in the first of two scheduled practice sessions on a drying circuit following early-morning rain. With a rain-soaked racing surface in the afternoon, no cars completed a full lap in the second practice that was checkered with 26 of the scheduled 45-minute session remaining. A 45-minute morning practice June 13 precedes the three rounds of knockout qualifications. The 85-lap race is June 14.

You can't focus on points, you have to focus on executing every weekend...

Juan Pablo Montoya

Simon Pagenaud was second on the practice time chart (1:00.7922) in the No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet, followed by CFH Racing teammates Josef Newgarden (1:00.8363) and Luca Filippi (1:00.8500). Sebastien Bourdais, who won the first of the doubleheader races last year, was fifth (1:00.8620) in the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet.

The top 11 cars were separated by a half-second. The tight competition was further highlighted by the fact that the gap between Newgarden (third) and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal (eighth) was less than a tenth of a second.

Montoya, who takes a 25-point advantage over reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and teammate Will Power into the 10th race of the season, isn't looking beyond this weekend, which will mark the 31st Indy car race in Toronto.

"You can't focus on points, you have to focus on executing every weekend and if things work out well, then we look good," said Montoya, driving the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet. "It's exciting to be in my second year back and leading the points, though it doesn't guarantee anything. So far it's been a good season and I think we have really good cars in Toronto.

"We went out, didn't get in many laps because we had a problem with the brakes, but the speed was there," added Montoya, who won his second Indianapolis 500 last month. "It's encouraging, but with the rain it just makes it hard because it washes away any rubber we put down and tomorrow we have to start from zero."

Gil de Ferran holds the Toronto track one-lap qualifying record of 57.143 seconds set when he drove for Team Penske in 1999 - the same season Montoya won the CART championship. Montoya started eighth and finished 22nd in the 95-lap race that year for Chip Ganassi Racing. De Ferran crashed and finished 19th.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Event Toronto
Sub-event Friday practice 1
Track Exhibition Place
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Article type Practice report