The IZOD IndyCar series has officially started the new season on the temporary special built circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida with Team Penske’s Power setting the fastest time.
St. Petersburg, Fla. - Will Power led the way on Friday at St. Petersburg as the IZOD IndyCar Series competitors took to the track for the first time in the 2013 season. Two practice sessions spiced the action on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile course, helping the teams prepare for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Seeking his fourth consecutive pole position at St. Petersburg, Power topped all 25 entrants with a time of 1:01.447 seconds or a speed of 105.457 miles per hour driving the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
“We got our fast lap in early, but we’ve got more work to do,” stated Power, expressing bewilderment with the slow speeds of the Honda entrants. “With Ganassi, I think it is an engine thing, but I guess we will see when qualifying comes. I think that’s when everyone knows where everyone stands and hopefully they are not good.”
Discussing the good start to the weekend, he added, “This is normal. We expect to be at the front, and we are disappointed if we are back because we have the team to do it.”
Power’s closest foe was Ryan Hunter-Reay, who topped the field in the morning run. For the day, the IndyCar Series champion zipped around the course at a speed of 105.152 mph in the DHL Chevrolet.
Simona de Silvestro’s debut with a new team was a good one as she timed third in the Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet. Her speed was 105.042 mph.
Discussing her noticeable improvement, she said, “Last year we can here knowing it was going to be a struggle, and this year we showed right away that we were quick. We have a little of work to do on the car but it is a big relief to know that we are going to be fast and right up there with the other guys.”
The top-three topped the 105 mark with everyone else between the high 104s down to Ana Beatriz at the bottom with a speed of 101.
Oriol Servia practiced fourth fastest in a Chevrolet and Takuma Sato was in fifth with the swiftest Honda.
Behind them came three-time race winner Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, James Hinchcliffe, rookie Tristan Vautier and Marco Andretti.
Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon were far down the list with the 17th and 19th fastest times, respectively.
On Saturday morning, a third practice round will be held with qualifications following at 2 p.m. ET.