IRL: Super Aguri Fern?ndez Racing turns first laps

Yasukawa passes initial phase of rookie test. PHOENIX, Ariz. (January 14, 2003) - Super Aguri Fernandez Racing today concluded a successful two-day test at Phoenix International Raceway with Roger Yasukawa turning his first laps aboard the ...

Yasukawa passes initial phase of rookie test.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (January 14, 2003) - Super Aguri Fernandez Racing today concluded a successful two-day test at Phoenix International Raceway with Roger Yasukawa turning his first laps aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone in preparation for the team's debut in the IRL IndyCar Series.

Under the watchful eye of IRL officials, Yasukawa also passed the first stage of his required Rookie evaluation test this afternoon and is now cleared to test with other drivers.

"I am extremely pleased with the progress of the team, with our new engineer John Dick and with Roger," said Tom Anderson, Co-Owner and Managing Director. "Roger's feedback is very precise, his times are very consistent and he got up to speed very quickly. I am very, very pleased with his progress.

"This is the first time in my career that I have come to the first test of the season with a new chassis and new engine and have run 300 miles in two days. It is a tremendous credit to both Honda and Dallara, because the reliability was phenomenal."

Yasukawa, 25, of Los Angeles, was the 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the championship in 2001. He graduated to the Atlantic series in 2002 netting three podiums, including a win in Milwaukee, and finishing 10th in the points in only a partial season of competition.

"It was great and I am really happy about everything," said Yasukawa of his inaugural outing. "The main thing was to pass the Rookie test, which we accomplished, and to get used to the car and the team and how we work together. The crew did a fantastic job in preparing the car. It was amazing that we had no problems the first day.

"It was a very valuable two days for me. I am getting more comfortable every time I go out. The car is much bigger and the horsepower is triple what I am used to. The team did a fantastic job in putting the car together and keeping me under control. The car's stability is very good and I feel very comfortable in the car. The speed was a matter to get used to. The car is a blast to drive and I am really enjoying it."

Adrian Fernandez and Aguri Suzuki also were on hand to witness Yasukawa's first laps.

"Roger has a good attitude and works well with John [Dick]," said Fernandez. "He is getting used to everything right now - a new package and a new team. We are going through the steps and we are not trying to prove anything at the moment. It is a different car than what Roger is used to, and I have given him some input even though I haven't driven this car. It has been a productive test. The Honda engine is very good, and the team is looking forward to getting back on track later this week."

Super Aguri Fernandez Racing will complete its West Coast tour with a two-day test at California Speedway in Fontana on Thursday and Friday. The 16-race IRL IndyCar Series season opens March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.

"Adrian has definitely given me a lot of tips," added Yasukawa. "He has been a big help to me and I really want to thank him as well. This was my first outing with John Dick and it was a lot of learning for both of us on how to work together. He is doing a great job and is keeping me under control, which is so important on an oval. I am really looking forward to working with him this season, and I think we can bring some good results."

Additional information on the team and the IndyCar Series can be found at www.superagurifernandezracing.net and www.indyracing.com.

-safr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Roger Yasukawa , Tom Anderson , Aguri Suzuki