Portland IndyCar: Bourdais goes fastest in FP3, then shunts
Sebastien Bourdais topped the final practice session for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Portland, but on his very next lap he shunted hard exiting Turn 9 where the car appeared to bottom out and spun off the track and into a tire wall.
The 2007 Portland GP winner was able to step out of his Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda unaided after his 135mph shunt, but the session around the 1.964-mile road course was brought to a premature halt.
Bourdais’ best lap was 0.0435sec faster than that of his 2007 teammate Graham Rahal, as the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Hondas bounced back from a mediocre Friday to finish second and fifth (Takuma Sato), in a session littered with minor mistakes.
Pietro Fittipaldi was the first to make a noticeable error, taking a trip through the Turn 1 escape road, while James Hinchcliffe at the start of a flying lap made it through Turn 1, but he clipped the apex of the chicane ‘triangle’, Turn 2, just a little too hard and couldn’t catch the tail of the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda before it ran off the road at Turn 3 and struck the tire wall. That inevitably caused a red flag, and following the crew’s attempts to make a repair on pitlane, the car was towed back to the paddock.
Sato and Will Power (Team Penske-Chevrolet) also had minor off-course excursions into the grass, with Power also exploring the Turn 1 runoff through the chicane, and AJ Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist doing the same a few minutes later.
Towards the end of the session, Max Chilton spun his Carlin Racing-Chevy through Turn 1, Fittipaldi visited on the sand and grass, and Alexander Rossi also tripped the wrong way through Turns 1-3 but was able to finish the session in fourth. That was just behind Power who finally strung three strong sectors together to end up a mere 0.08sec behind Bourdais, and 0.037 off Rahal.
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Spencer Pigot did a great job in the Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy to wind up sixth, ahead of three Andretti cars and the second of the Penskes, that of Josef Newgarden.
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s points leader, was only 11th, ahead of Jordan King and series returnee Santino Ferrucci in a third Dale Coyne Racing-Honda. Fittipaldi was only 17th but two places ahead of the third Penske of Simon Pagenaud, who remains struggling with his car’s ‘loose’ rear end that is almost a prerequisite to be fast around this course.
Ed Jones had to park 10 minutes early on IndyCar’s orders, as punishment for him striking King’s Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet during pitstop practice yesterday following FP2.
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