Rio de Janeiro -- Michael Andretti recorded the fastest lap Friday during the opening round of practice for Sunday's Rio 400 on the Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway at Nelson Piquet International Raceway. Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift...
Rio de Janeiro -- Michael Andretti recorded the fastest lap Friday during the opening round of practice for Sunday's Rio 400 on the Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway at Nelson Piquet International Raceway.
Andretti (Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Swift Ford) lapped the 1.864-mile oval at an average speed of 169.656 miles per hour (39.553 seconds), topping 28 drivers who posted practice times for Sunday's fifth round of the FedEx Championship Series.
A second round of practice is scheduled for 8 a.m. ET Saturday with qualifying due to begin at 11:45 a.m. ET (12:45 p.m. local time).
Andretti recorded his top speed with just under 20 minutes remaining in the two-hour afternoon session. The session was combined and extended after rain canceled all but 16 minutes of the morning practice.
Andretti is seeking his first pole since 1995 at Long Beach and his first on an oval since 1992 at Nazareth.
"The car was good. It unloaded very quick and it was good to be able to get the right setup right away," Andretti said. "Now it's just a little bit here and a little bit there. We're going to have to find a few more things for sure [to win the pole]. If we can do that, I think we'll have a shot at it. It was a good day, but today's Friday. Tomorrow and the next day are the important days."
Gil de Ferran (Valvoline/Cummins Special Reynard Honda) was second at 168.981 mph (39.711 sec). He has started in the top five for three of this season's four events, led by a third at Japan.
"The car is behaving really well," de Ferran said. "It was a good session because obviously we have a good car straight out of the box. The tires are very good, with Goodyear in the top three [positions]."
Christian Fittipaldi (Kmart Swift Ford) was third fastest at 167.613 mph (40.035 sec). He seeks his first career pole position Saturday.
"The car was pretty good the whole session, but I basically got a little too excited at the end,'' he said. "I was out on my second set of tires and I spun, but nothing was hurt. I'm happy to be here and happy to be racing in Rio, but we definitely have a lot more rock and roll left tomorrow and Sunday."
Source: CART Online