PHOENIX (Friday, Feb. 7, 2003) -- Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi wrapped up their first of two consecutive days of the IRL IndyCar Series Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway today. Giaffone and the ...
PHOENIX (Friday, Feb. 7, 2003) -- Felipe Giaffone and Tora Takagi wrapped up their first of two consecutive days of the IRL IndyCar Series Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway today.
Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force clocked the second-fastest lap around the one-mile oval today in both the morning and afternoon sessions. He circled the track in 20.6479 seconds (174.352 mph) during the opening three-hour session this morning, then came back with a lap of 20.5236 seconds (175.408 mph) with the 2½-hour afternoon session. Only Kenny Brack (20.4964/175.641) ran faster this morning, and only Helio Castroneves (20.4654/175.907) had a faster lap this afternoon. Giaffone completed 145 miles in all today. Giaffone was fastest in both morning and afternoon sessions during Test in the West activities on the 2-mile California Speedway oval in Fontana on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Takagi methodically got his #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force up to speed through the course of today's morning and afternoon sessions. He was 13th-fastest in the morning with a lap of 21.0171 seconds (171.289 mph), but jumped five places on the timesheet in the afternoon with a lap of 20.7539 seconds (173.461 mph) that was eighth best for the session. Takagi logged 204 miles on the day. He was seventh-fastest overall at Fontana on Tuesday.
The Test in the West concludes with morning and afternoon sessions scheduled for Saturday here at PIR. The 2003 IRL IndyCar Series season opens March 2 at South Florida's Homestead Miami Speedway.
"Today was our first time on the small oval with the new car and engine package and we are very pleased with the results. I'd go as far as to say we are surprised, but in a very good way. Just like at Fontana, the car was good right out of the box. We kept working different setups all day long and the good thing is that we were able to go fast using different combinations. Now we're going to pick the best one for tomorrow and see how much we can improve."
"I think it was a successful day for me and the Pioneer-Toyota team. I have not driven this track in more than two years, and I have never driven this track in this type of car. We took our time getting comfortable in the car and with the short-oval package, and we were able to turn our fastest lap by the end of the day. We still have much work to do, but I think to be in the top 10 on a track like this is good for your first day. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."