LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 8, 2000) - For the second day in succession, Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske recorded the top speed Thursday during the concluding day of the CART Open Test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. De Ferran (Marlboro...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 8, 2000) - For the second day in succession, Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske recorded the top speed Thursday during the concluding day of the CART Open Test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
De Ferran (Marlboro Honda Reynard), who topped Wednesday's speed chart at 122.113 miles per hour (1 minute, 6.568 seconds), improved on that by more than two mph Thursday, finishing the day with a top lap of 124.275 mph (1:05.410) on the 2.258-mile permanent road course. The effort approached the track qualifying record of 124.394 mph (1:05.347) established by Dario Franchitti in 1999.
Still, de Ferran was pleased with the progress made by Marlboro Team Penske during its two days of testing.
"We keep working on making this job as simple as we can," said de Ferran, who currently stands sixth with 43 points through six of 20 rounds in the championship. He drove to the 100th victory in Penske Racing's storied history on May 27 at Nazareth Speedway, and also owns pole positions at Homestead and Long Beach this season.
"Right now, the car has good balance and good traction. Hopefully it's a good omen. We'll keep on developing the car and keep our heads down. It's important not to get overconfident just because we had a good test. Testing is testing and racing is racing."
De Ferran's teammate, Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Honda Reynard), helped round out a successful two days for Marlboro Team Penske by finishing second on the combined speed chart at 123.649 mph (1:05.741). Castroneves, who owns Penske Racing's best road-course finish this season, a runner-up showing at Long Beach, recorded his best speed in de Ferran's secondary car.
"We've been very consistent," Castroneves said. "I'm very happy so far. We came here with a lot of things to test and were able to get through most of them. The track picked up a lot of grip over the course of the test, which changed things pretty drastically every session. It's nice to have testing with everyone together. Everybody knows what everyone else is doing [in lap times]. It's just like a race weekend."
Franchitti (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green, the two-time defending pole sitter at Mid-Ohio, was third fastest overall at 123.184 mph (1:05.989). Rounding out the top five drivers were Christian Fittipaldi (Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Lola) of Newman/Haas Racing, fourth at 123.007 mph (1:06.084) and Max Papis (Miller Lite Ford Reynard) of Team Rahal, fifth at 122.542 mph (1:06.335).
A total of 28 cars were introduced to the track during the two-day test. Defending FedEx Championship Series and Indianapolis 500 champion Juan Montoya (Target Toyota Lola) of Target Chip Ganassi Racing was seventh-fastest overall, at 122.058 mph (1:06.598) while FedEx Championship Series points leader Paul Tracy (KOOL Honda Reynard) of Team KOOL Green was 16th-fastest at 120.618 mph (1:07.393). Tracy holds a 59-52 points lead over Roberto Moreno (Visteon Ford Reynard) of Patrick Racing through the first six rounds of the championship.
The Open Test was scheduled in preparation for Round 13 of the FedEx Championship Series, the Miller Lite 200, slated for August 11-13 at Mid-Ohio. The series continues with Round 7, the Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit, next Friday through Sunday, June 16-18, at The Raceway on Belle Isle.