MINARDI TEAM USA BRINGS FIRST TEST TO SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION SEBRING, FLORIDA, January 25, 2007 -- Nelson Philippe climbed into the cockpit of the Minardi Team USA Panoz DP01 chassis for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, taking over from ...
MINARDI TEAM USA BRINGS FIRST TEST TO SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION
SEBRING, FLORIDA, January 25, 2007 -- Nelson Philippe climbed into the cockpit of the Minardi Team USA Panoz DP01 chassis for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, taking over from Dutchman, Robert Doornbos, who drove for the team in the first three practice sessions of this week's season-opening Champ Car World Series test, at Sebring International Raceway. Former CTE Racing -- HVM driver, Philippe, who claimed a thrilling victory at last year's Surfers Paradise race, was clearly delighted to be back in a Champ Car and able to acquaint himself with the new chassis. Unfortunately, a steering problem meant he could manage only a limited amount of running on used tires in the fourth practice session, while Thursday morning's fifth session was beset by rain. Nonetheless, the young Frenchman covered 17 laps in the tricky conditions and posted the third-fastest time (1 min 03.465 secs/94.673 mph) on Sebring's 1.669-mile short course. With the weather clearing in the afternoon, and a dry track in prospect, Philippe made the most of the improved conditions, covering 44 laps and setting a promising lap time of 51.892 secs (115.787 mph). Minardi Team USA personnel now return to their Indianapolis base to analyze the extensive amounts of data collected during this important first shakedown, and will be testing again in Houston, on February 12 and 13.
Nelson Philippe Fastest lap: 51.892 secs Total laps: 83
"It was great to be back with the team, and I definitely enjoyed this first test with the new car. We weren't as quick as we would have liked, but the car is really good. I think it's got great potential and there are lots of areas we can work on to improve it and make it faster. All in all, it has been a very positive two days, and I'm looking forward to the next test, and helping the team make some big steps forward."
Keith Wiggins, Co-owner, Minardi Team USA
"For our first test of the season, I think we're pretty happy with the way things went. We did a few laps in the wet this morning, and then more concentrated running in the afternoon, once the track had dried. We went through some set-up changes and continued to work on the brakes, where we know there is considerable time to be found. Nelson also did a couple of tire runs, including six laps on a new set, and was able to produce some pretty consistent lap times. I think the most important thing, though, is that the guys have come out of this test knowing where they can improve the car's performance and have a clear idea of the direction to take. We got 61 laps in today, and definitely moved forward."
Paul Stoddart, Co-owner, Minardi Team USA
"Despite the day's early rain, the team completed another useful day of testing, with Nelson proving particularly impressive in the wet conditions. It is clear that time is going to be required to sort out some of the teething problems with the car, but having only one chassis available to us has meant some of the testing we would have liked to carry out here at Sebring was not possible. Despite that, the team has done a great job collecting some very useful data. Combined with the arrival of the second chassis, this should allow us to make further progress at the Houston test where, it is to be hoped, the full Minardi Team USA will be in attendance."