TEAM AUSTRALIA TOPS ATLANTICS TEST Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud has topped the time sheets in the first of two Champ Car Atlantic Series open tests at the secluded and challenging HSR Houston road circuit about 48kms (30 miles) north of ...
TEAM AUSTRALIA TOPS ATLANTICS TEST
Team Australia's Simon Pagenaud has topped the time sheets in the first of two Champ Car Atlantic Series open tests at the secluded and challenging HSR Houston road circuit about 48kms (30 miles) north of Houston, Texas, today.
Pagenaud, a 21-year-old native of Montmorillon, France, led all 27 Atlantic drivers that tested at the 3.808km (2.38-mile course).
The Team Australia racer clocked a fastest lap of 1:19.608 (172.203kph - 107.627 mph) in the afternoon session. The Atlantics are testing in preparation for round two of their 2006 championship -- the Fast Trac 100 at the Grand Prix of Houston -- to be held this weekend.
Pagenaud's young Australian team mate James Davison was 16th fastest of the 27 drivers who took part in the day. Davison, who is coming to grips more with the Atlantic car with every session he completes, clocked a time of 1:21.387 (168.44kph - 105.275mph).
"I really like this track and it's a lot like the tracks you see in Europe," said Pagenaud, who finished fourth at the season-opening race in Long Beach on April 9.
"There are lots bumps and some really fast corners. You could really feel the down force of the car here. It was a real pleasure to drive the Atlantic car on this kind of track."
The atlantics will test again tomorrow before heading to the downtown Houston street course for an opening practice session on Thursday, Texas time.
As the squads continued to learn and test the limits of the 2006 Mazda-Cosworth/Swift 016.a/Yokohama car, the durability and performance of the new Atlantic passed yet another test.
Collectively, teams logged nearly 6400km (4,000 miles) during a full day of testing. The high level of talent in the field was also clearly on display as the top 12 drivers were separated by less than a second in their fast-lap times.
Pageenaud and young American Graham Rahal, son of former Champ Car star Bobby Rahal, were the only two drivers to break the one minute and 20-second barrier.
Houston will also host the second round of the Champ Car World Series this weekend where Team Australia will be represented by Australian Will Power and talented Canadian Alex Tagliani in their Aussie Vineyards Lolas.