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Rahal targets top-five finish

Graham Rahal, Newman/Haas/Lanigain, IRL 2008Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver Graham Rahal is aiming for a top five finish on his IndyCar Series debut at St Petersburg this weekend, after he was forced to sit out the opening race last Saturday.

The American, who watched the Miami-Homestead oval race from the pits after a lack of spares prevented his team repairing the car he crashed in practice, says that on the evidence of testing at Sebring, NHL should be able to mix it with the IndyCar regulars.

"We went to Sebring [this week], but it started to pour, so we only got about 16 laps in," he said. "It's going to be tough for us, but again this is just another race car. We keep telling ourselves that.

"In only 16 laps, our times were only about a second off the quickest of [the regular runners in the IndyCar Series] test, so I think we should be okay. I certainly donít expect to run first this weekend, but I think a top-five is a reasonable finish for us."

Rahal admitted that having to delay the start of his season by one race had been frustrating, adding that he couldn't wait to get started in St Petersburg.

"Iím looking forward to being part of this," he said. "It feels like itís been a long time coming. I know itís only been a couple of weeks, but weíre really looking forward to it.

"Itís going to be quite the challenge this weekend, but we should be there. I think qualifying is a good new format.

"If we can continue on through qualifying and get through the first couple of sessions, thereís quite a bit of track time, so hopefully we can do that and get a little more familiar with these cars."

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