IRL: Franchitti Test in the West notes 2003-02-08

Franchitti 11th at final day of Test in the West. AVONDALE, Arizona (February 8, 2003) -- Early morning rain showers along with a mechanical problem late in the afternoon limited Dario Franchitti's on track time during the final day of testing...

Franchitti 11th at final day of Test in the West.

AVONDALE, Arizona (February 8, 2003) -- Early morning rain showers along with a mechanical problem late in the afternoon limited Dario Franchitti's on track time during the final day of testing at the Indy Racing League's Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway. Franchitti posted a best lap of 172.698 mph (20.8456 seconds) in his #27 Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone completing just 72 laps.

Rain showers in the morning delayed the start of practice by two-and-a-half hours and also washed away the rubber that had been laid down yesterday. The green track caught the team off-guard but they were able to get to what they felt is a good race car. The team focused on mechanical grip for the day and were about to put new tires on the car before they discovered a leak in the gearbox. The mechanical problem caused the day to end early, but the team was happy overall.

Franchitti's technical partner Tony Kanaan led all drivers today posting the fastest lap at 176.783 mph (20.3639 seconds). Scott Dixon was second quick with a speed of 176.245 mph (20.4261 seconds) and Gil de Ferran was third with a speed of 176.053 mph (20.4484 seconds). Franchitti's other technical partner, Michael Andretti, was hampered by a mechanical problem in the afternoon. Andretti posted a best lap 171.945 mph (20.9369 seconds) only good enough for 15th on the speed charts.

Today marked the final day of the IRL Test in the West wrapping up nearly seven days of media and on track sessions. The Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola crew will continue its IndyCar Series pre-season testing program at Homestead-Miami Speedway on February 17 and 18 during an IRL open Test. Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the season opener for the IndyCar Series on Sunday, March 2.

Dario Franchitti, Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola:
"It was a tough start for us today. We weren't happy with the car in race trim yesterday and then this morning we had a big imbalance. The Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola crew worked really hard all day and we had a car that was strong late in the afternoon session. Unfortunately we had a gearbox leak that shortened our session and we were unable to put new tires on the car to see how we compared with everyone else. We only used three sets of tires these last two days so we're hoping to get an I-O-U from Brian Barnhart to use our other three sets at next week's Homestead open test. I would say it was a good test for the whole team. Tony (Kanaan) seems to have a good car in qualifying trim, so that looks promising for us."

Kyle Moyer, Team Manager, Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola
"With the rain this morning it washed away all of the rubber that we laid down on the track and that caught us out a little. The car was very hard to drive and was very loose which is something we really didn't expect. That is part of the learning curve and it's a good thing to have something thrown at us so we learn it now rather than later. We worked with the car and got it to where we wanted it and it's a shame we didn't get to run with new tires. We're happy with the car and I think we have a pretty good setup for the race."

-AGR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Brian Barnhart