IRL: Mo Nunn Racing Test in the West notes 2003-02-08

Giaffone, Takagi wrap up solid week at IndyCar Series Test in the West. PHOENIX (Saturday, Feb. 8, 2003) -- Felipe Giaffone and new teammate Tora Takagi closed out the the IRL IndyCar Series' 2003 preseason Test in the West at ...

Giaffone, Takagi wrap up solid week at IndyCar Series Test in the West.

PHOENIX (Saturday, Feb. 8, 2003) -- Felipe Giaffone and new teammate Tora Takagi closed out the the IRL IndyCar Series' 2003 preseason Test in the West at Phoenix International Raceway today with Giaffone recording top-four lap times in both morning and afternoon sessions while Takagi was firmly in the top eight in both sessions.

Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force was third in this morning's rain-shortened session with a lap of 20.6672 seconds (174.189 mph) around the 1-mile oval at PIR. That lap was bested only by teammates Gil de Ferran (20.4484/176.053) and Helio Castroneves (20.5312/175.343).

Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force was seventh in that morning session with a lap of 20.9303 seconds (171.999 mph).

Giaffone logged 62 miles while Takagi drove 73 miles in that 80-minute session, delayed some 2 hours and 40 minutes due to overnight and early-morning rain showers.

In the afternoon, Giaffone had the fourth-fastest lap of the closing session of this week's Test in the West at 20.5388 seconds (175.278 mph) during his 74 miles of work. Takagi's best lap of the afternoon was a 20.8056-second (173.030-mph) effort that was eighth fastest for the session. He logged 55 miles in the afternoon.

Tony Kanaan (20.3639/176.783) was fastest in the afternoon, followed by Scott Dixon (20.4261/176.245) and Kenny Brack (20.5387/175.279).

Giaffone was second-fastest in both sessions here on Friday, and was fastest in both sessions held at California Speedway in Fontana on Monday. Takagi was in the top eight in all but one session this week.

The 2003 IRL IndyCar Series season opens March 2 at Homestead with the first of 16 events on the year. Round Two will be here at Phoenix on March 23.

FELIPE GIAFFONE -- #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-Panoz G Force

"I'd say we did as well as we possibly could have expected here at Phoenix. Possibly even a little better, compared to everybody else out there. That has to do most with how well the Hollywood team had us prepared to run at Fontana earlier this week and here this weekend. We ran well in both sessions on Friday. The rain set us back a little bit today. It cost over two and a half hours of track time we could have used. We were probably four or five steps behind a couple of cars (Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves) that tested here already before this weekend. But we'll be back right after the Homestead race to do some more testing. We'll fine-tune what we learned here this weekend and hopefully we'll be very competitive by the time we race here."

TORA TAKAGI -- #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-Panoz G Force

"I am feeling more and more comfortable as I get more time in the Pioneer-Toyota. I cut a couple of tires on the track on Friday, so that forced us to come out here and run a little longer on used tires than we wanted to. I put 70 laps, I think, on two sets of tires. That's a lot. Especially after the rain washed the track clean this morning. So the problem we had yesterday, which was a little oversteer, turned into a push here today. But we know where we are, so far, and we know what we have to do to go faster. I'm very happy to be here."

-mnr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Kenny Brack , Mo Nunn