CHAMPCAR/CART: Sebring open test final day report

Reigning Champ Car Rookie of The Year A.J. Allmendinger Turns Weekend's Fastest Time on Final Day of Sebring Preseason Testing INDIANAPOLIS (February 8, 2005) -- RuSPORT owner Carl Russo is tired of watching other teams win races in the ...

Reigning Champ Car Rookie of The Year A.J. Allmendinger Turns Weekend's Fastest Time on Final Day of Sebring Preseason Testing

INDIANAPOLIS (February 8, 2005) -- RuSPORT owner Carl Russo is tired of watching other teams win races in the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, but if this past weekend's testing is any indication, his team may be in place to wear the competition out when the 2005 season gets underway.

With a full preseason to set itself for 2005 -- as opposed to last year when the last-minute addition of Michel Jourdain Jr. rewrote the team's game plan -- RuSPORT showed Sunday that it will be a force to be reckoned when the green flag flies on Champ Car season April 10 in Long Beach.

Reigning Roshfrans Rookie of the Year A.J. Allmendinger vaulted to the top of the speed charts on the last day of a three-day Champ Car testing session in Sebring, stopping the clocks at 50.64 seconds on a cloudy Sunday in Central Florida. Allmendinger's time was nearly three-tenths of a second quicker than anyone else was able to manage over the three days.

His new RuSPORT teammate Justin Wilson was equally quick in his first session since officially joining the Colorado-based squad, hanging a best time of 50.90 seconds on the board, matching the best effort of three-time series runner-up Bruno Junqueira. The three times were the best of the weekend, topping the 50.97 clocking posted by Newman/Haas Racing's Junqueira on Saturday. Times were unofficial but were reported to Champ Car by Cosworth Racing engineers.

Former Champ Car titlewinner Jimmy Vasser picked up the pace on Sunday, breaking into the 50-second range with a 50.99 run on Sunday in his PKV Racing machine, while Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing overcame the mechanical troubles that slowed them on Saturday, and got full days of testing in with the newly-signed Nelson Philippe as well as Toyota Atlantic race winner Alex Figge. Philippe turned a best time of 51.6 seconds while Figge was a tenth behind at the end of the day. The former Atlantic standout showed marked improvement on Sunday, lopping more than a half-second off of his best time from the previous day.

Preseason testing continues for many of the teams next week as Forsythe Racing will roll out with 2003 series champion Paul Tracy at Homestead, February 17-18. More teams are expected to join the session, which will take place on the infield road course of the South Florida track.

The 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season officially gets underway April 8-10 with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, one of the longest-running races on the Champ Car calendar.

-ccws-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , A.J. Allmendinger , Alex Figge , Carl Russo , Nelson Philippe , Michel Jourdain
Teams Conquest Racing