CHAMPCAR/CART: Team Rahal Laguna test wrap up report

Team Rahal and Michel Jourdain Jr.wrap up initial 2003 Champ Car. HILLIARD, OH . . . Team Rahal and Michel Jourdain Jr. began pre-season testing for the 2003 Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, with three days of ...

Team Rahal and Michel Jourdain Jr.wrap up initial 2003 Champ Car.

HILLIARD, OH . . . Team Rahal and Michel Jourdain Jr. began pre-season testing for the 2003 Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, with three days of testing at Laguna Seca Raceway (Saturday-Monday). Jourdain logged 450 miles in the Gigante/Office Depot/Ford-Cosworth/Lola featuring Bridgestone tires. Jourdain posted competitive times and ended the test with a quick time on Monday that put him in the top-five for the combined three days.

"It was great to finally get back in the car after a couple of months off," said Jourdain, who had not been in a Champ Car since the 2002 season finale at Mexico City. "Last season our biggest problems were on the permanent road courses so this was an important test for us. I think we addressed some of those concerns and we certainly learned a few things that will help us when the season begins."

Team Rahal Champ Car World Series team manager, Ray Leto, was impressed with the progress the team made through the initial test for the Gigante/Office Depot team. "We had a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, especially with the first race only a few weeks away," said Leto. "The three days at Laguna Seca proved to be very productive and we made some very good progress addressing some questions we had with trying to consolidate our road course set-ups. It was our first time out with the new Ford-Cosworth XFE and we are impressed with the package Ford is supplying to the series."

Team Rahal's Champ Car program will return to testing with next week's Champ Car World Series Spring Training at Sebring International Raceway. The 2003 Champ Car World Series kicks off with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of St. Petersburg, February 21-23.

"I think it is going to be a very competitive season," said Jourdain. "Right now it appears Newman-Haas might have a bit of advantage, but the lasting impression I got from this test is just how close and competitive this season is going to be."

Team Rahal is now in its second decade as one of the leading open-wheel racing teams in North America. Based in Hilliard, Ohio, the team is co-owned by three-time CART champion and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman. Currently the team campaigns cars in the Bridgestone presents the Champ Car World Series powered by Ford, the IRL IndyCar Series and the Toyota Atlantic Championship. The 65-member team enjoys primary sponsorship from the Gigante Group in the Champ Car World Series, Pioneer Electronics and the Miller Brewing Company in the IndyCar Series and Argent Mortgage Company in the Toyota Atlantics Championship.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Michel Jourdain