CHAMPCAR/CART: Herdez Competition Laguna Seca test notes 2002-02-13

Herdez Competition Makes Dramatic Improvements at Laguna INDIANAPOLIS (February 14, 2002) - They say the third time is a charm - and the Herdez Competition team proved that yesterday completing their third and by far most successful day of...

Herdez Competition Makes Dramatic Improvements at Laguna

INDIANAPOLIS (February 14, 2002) - They say the third time is a charm - and the Herdez Competition team proved that yesterday completing their third and by far most successful day of testing at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. Continuing their pre-season testing plan, the team completed 120 laps during the day with rookie Mario Domínguez posting a best time of one minute, 9.82 seconds; just a shade under a second faster than his best time during last weekend's Sneak Preview open test.

The 26-year-old Mexican was a half-second per lap quicker right "out of the box" on Wednesday morning, reinforcing the team's belief from Sunday that they were performing better than the time sheet demonstrated.

"This was a much better day, by far", said Domínguez. "For sure we learned a lot and we came away with a much better set-up on the car. It was unfortunate that we couldn't show this speed on Sunday in front of the crowd at Sneak Preview - we thought we had a handle on the set-up at the end of the day but then we couldn't get a lap in because of the red-flags at the end of the final session. But this test proves that we were on the right track. We had been fighting a constant understeer over the weekend but it was a completely different car when I got in it (yesterday)."

Herdez Competition Managing Director Keith Wiggins confirmed this assessment. "It was about 25 degrees colder on Wednesday than it was over the weekend so it took a bit of time to get heat in the car and in the tires. But I'm confident that Mario's performance yesterday would have stood up against the other drivers had they been there. We knew that Sunday wasn't an accurate reflection of what we could do so it was good, both for Mario and for the team, to get out there and put a competitive time on the board. We felt the track had less grip overall and we were running about 3 m.p.h. slower at top speed, so clearly the car was cornering significantly better than previously. At the end of the day, we're happy to have resolved the issues that confronted us on the weekend and now we can move forward with the rest of our pre-season testing."

The team and driver return to Indianapolis today before setting off for Sebring, Florida to test on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. This two-day test will be the team's final tune-up prior to the season-opener in Monterrey, Mexico on March 8-10.

-hc/pp-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Dominguez