Danica Patrick shrugged off an illness that has kept her from two days of media appearances and one day of testing to set the best lap of the day during Thursday's IRL IndyCar Series test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Andretti-Green Racing driver was clocked at 25.0772 seconds (213.182mph) as she topped the five-hour night session.
The lap, recorded about a quarter of the way through Patrick's 186-lap run, held up against the efforts of Ryan Briscoe (Penske), Dan Wheldon (Ganassi) and A.J. Foyt IV (Vision).
Briscoe lapped in 25.0920 seconds, while Wheldon, who had the fastest lap on Wednesday night and won the Homestead race last year, set a 25.0619 second time.
Patrick overcame flu-like symptoms, including dizziness and fever, to secure P1 among the 18-car field.
"It's kind of nuts to skip a day and then go out there and be quickest, but we were struggling with the race car," Patrick said. "Until the very end of the day, we were really pushing to figure it out. We definitely didn't have it down. At the end of the day, we're all walking away pretty happy.?
Others who were satisfied with their efforts included Briscoe, who completed his first open test as Sam Hornish Jr's replacement in the Penske No.6, and Wheldon, whose lap from the previous night stood as the fastest of the two-day test.
Hideki Mutoh, Dario Franchitti's replacement in the No.27 AGR Dallara-Honda, was sixth-fastest on Thursday, while championship favourites Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon were among the top eight on the chart.
"Dixon was fast," said Patrick, who dueled with the Ganassi driver late in the session. "He definitely had enough speed to pull up beside me. I backed off so I could get behind him for a while, even though he was a little bit faster at the time. I ran behind him for a long time and managed to get a couple of runs on him, but it wasn't enough."
The IndyCar Series will resume its spring training on Monday with the start of a four-day test at Sebring International Raceway. The season-opener is set for March 29 at Homestead.
Thursday's testing times:
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Danica Patrick Andretti-Green 25.0772
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske 25.0920
3. Dan Wheldon Ganassi 25.1009
4. AJ Foyt IV Vision 25.1059
5. Scott Dixon Ganassi 25.1163
6. Hideki Mutoh Andretti-Green 25.1463
7. Helio Castroneves Penske 25.1698
8. Tony Kanaan Andretti-Green 25.2326
9. Ed Carpenter Vision 25.2841
10. Marco Andretti Andretti-Green 25.2948
11. Vitor Meira Panther 25.3520
12. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal-Letterman 25.4169
13. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold 25.4686
14. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 25.5604
15. Darren Manning Foyt 25.5932
16. Marty Roth Roth 26.0641