De Ferran Takes Top Spot In Phoenix Practice PHOENIX, Friday, March 15, 2002 - One of the budding rivalries of this young 2002 Indy Racing League season continued during the first day of practice for the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 on...
De Ferran Takes Top Spot In Phoenix Practice
PHOENIX, Friday, March 15, 2002 - One of the budding rivalries of this young 2002 Indy Racing League season continued during the first day of practice for the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 on March 15, as Gil de Ferran edged Sam Hornish Jr. for the fastest lap at Phoenix International Raceway.
de Ferran posted a top speed of 20.3157 seconds, 177.203 mph on his second-to-last lap of the first practice in the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, and that lap stood up during the entire second practice as the best of the day.
"It's hard to compare with what other people are going through," said de Ferran, in his first full season of Indy Racing competition. "I feel I'm on a much steeper learning curve than I was the last couple of years. I must say Homestead and Phoenix are good for us because most of the winter testing is done at those two tracks."
Hornish led most of the first practice with his best lap of the day, 20.3570, 176.843 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone before being dislodged from the top spot by de Ferran.
"Everything went pretty much as planned," Hornish said.
Defending Indy Racing League champion Hornish opened the 2002 season with a dominant victory in the 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. de Ferran finished second, with Marlboro Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves third.
That intriguing battle should continue during the 200-lap Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 at 4 p.m. (EST) Sunday, live on ABC.
Robbie Buhl was fastest in the second practice at 20.4248, 176.256 in the No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone, the third-best lap of the day overall.
Buddy Lazier and Al Unser Jr. were fourth and fifth on the overall speed charts, respectively. 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Lazier was fourth at 20.5743, 174.976 in the No. 91 Coors Light Life Fitness Tae-Bo Delta Dallara/Chevrolet Firestone. Two-time Indy winner Unser was fifth at 20.5971, 174.782 in the No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.
Twenty-six drivers turned 2,179 combined laps during the two practice sessions today. The only incident was a spin by 1996 IRL co-champion Scott Sharp in Turn 2, and his No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone made no contact.
Practice continues at 11 a.m. (EST) Saturday, with MBNA Pole Qualifying scheduled for 2 p.m. (EST).