Franck Perera puts Conquest Racing on top at Sebring Open Test French driver tops competitive field; all 14 cars within 1.1 seconds SEBRING, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2008) -- With the results of the first two days of testing at Sebring International...
Franck Perera puts Conquest Racing on top at Sebring Open Test
French driver tops competitive field; all 14 cars within 1.1 seconds
SEBRING, Fla. (Feb. 4, 2008) -- With the results of the first two days of testing at Sebring International Raceway, most people expected to see the name Franck atop the timing sheets at the conclusion of the first pre-season open test for the Champ Car World Series. What they may not have expected is that his last name would be Perera.
Driving the #24 Conquest Racing entry, Franck Perera, a product of the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda, posted a lap of 49.806 seconds (120.636 mph), topping the time charts over the three days of testing and showing Conquest Racing's speed and intention for the season ahead.
"I think we did a good job," Perera said. "It was a crescendo--each session we were faster and we tested many things for all the phases of a race weekend and we did well in each. So, it's good that we can already fight with the top guys."
Perera, who many say is the "real deal," outpaced Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's sophomore driver, Graham Rahal, by 144-thousandths of a second. The two Atlantic "runner-ups" of the past two seasons were the only drivers to post a time below the 50-second mark.
Finishing the test in third was Alex Tagliani driving for PKV Racing. Tagliani hopes that his performance at the test with a quick lap of 50.173 seconds (119.754 mph) will speak for itself and that it will allow him to join PKV Racing for the season.
"I'm very satisfied with my test at PKV Racing," expressed Tagliani. "It's a dream for all drivers to work with such a professional team. I said it before and I will say it again, this team can and will be competing for the championship. I loved the experience, and working with Oriol (Servia) was fantastic. We're quick and the team is happy. We didn't have any problems throughout the test. All we need now is to move forward and hopefully make the line-up and if it does happen I think it would be a turning point in my career."
PKV Racing's Servia completed his test fourth fastest overall with a time of 50.178 seconds (119.742 mph).
"I'm very, very happy and very impressed with the team," Servia said. "We did the last race in Mexico and we obviously had a good car. They have been working hard all winter and all the new things they did, they were better. So I'm really happy. The conditions today were nothing like you are going to find this season so we didn't really want to focus too much on the set-up. We just wanted to test and try things and that's what we did. It was also good to have Alex here to compare notes."
Justin Wilson of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing was fifth with a lap of 50.207 seconds (119.673 mph), only two-thousandths quicker than Forsythe/Pettit's Franck Montagny who sat atop the leader board the two previous days. Montagny was the only driver not to improve his time in the final session.
Sitting in seventh in the combined report, Dale Coyne Racing's Bruno Junqueira said: "It's been good, very nice to get back in the car after the off-season. We are testing a lot of new stuff to improve the car overall for the street courses this year and things are going well."
Pacific Coast Motorsports were also on pace throughout the test with Alex Figge posting the eighth time overall and David Martinez the 12th fastest. Simon Pagenaud at Conquest Racing was ninth with Enrique Bernoldi of Rocketsports in 10th place.