Power tops first practice at Surfers
|By Matt Beer||Thursday, October 23rd 2008, 23:42 GMT|
Will Power made a perfect start to his home race weekend by beating Justin Wilson to the fastest time in Friday morning practice at Surfers Paradise.
KV Racing driver Power - twice a pole-sitter but never yet a winner at the track - set a 1:36.3391 lap right at the end of the 90-minute session to out-pace Wilson (Newman/Haas/Lanigan) by 0.2216 seconds.
The top two had swapped places several times in the final half-hour, and were half a second clear of the rest of the field, which was led by the Ganassi duo.
Dario Franchitti began his IndyCar Series comeback in fine style as he took third place, 0.0148 seconds quicker than his teammate, and successor as champion, Scott Dixon.
Alex Tagliani completed the top five in a strong performance for Conquest Racing, although he also caused the session to end a few seconds early after spinning and tapping the wall on the exit of the VB chicane.
Andretti Green's Tony Kanaan was sixth ahead of 2004 event winner Bruno Junqueira (Dale Coyne Racing).
Power's teammate Oriol Servia, who is also running in Team Australia livery this weekend, was eighth fastest despite missing the end of the session having slid into the tyres at the first chicane and damaged his suspension.
Also in trouble were Rahal Letterman's Ryan Hunter-Reay, who tagged the wall early on and caused the weekend's first yellow, Helio Castroneves (who needed assistance retrieving his Penske Dallara-Honda from an escape road), and late crasher Ed Carpenter (Vision Racing).
Penske's Ryan Briscoe and Newman/Haas/Lanigan driver Graham Rahal completed the top ten, with EJ Viso the best of the circuit rookies as he took 12th for HVM Racing, just behind Castroneves.
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Will Power KV 1:36.3391 2. Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1:36.5607 + 0.2216 3. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1:36.9904 + 0.6513 4. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1:37.0052 + 0.6661 5. Alex Tagliani Conquest 1:37.0625 + 0.7234 6. Tony Kanaan Andretti Green 1:37.0650 + 0.7259 7. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne 1:37.3127 + 0.9736 8. Oriol Servia KV 1:37.4146 + 1.0755 9. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1:37.5896 + 1.2505 10. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 1:37.6370 + 1.2979 11. Helio Castroneves Penske 1:37.6514 + 1.3123 12. EJ Viso HVM 1:38.3860 + 2.0469 13. Mario Moraes Dale Coyne 1:39.1186 + 2.7795 14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman 1:39.1631 + 2.8240 15. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 1:39.4673 + 3.1282 16. Vitor Meira Foyt 1:39.7604 + 3.4213 17. AJ Foyt IV Vision 1:40.1178 + 3.7787 18. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 1:41.1604 + 4.8213 19. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold 1:41.1624 + 4.8233 20. Dan Wheldon Panther 1:42.0197 + 5.6806 21. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 1:42.5072 + 6.1681 22. Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold 1:42.6594 + 6.3203 23. Jaime Camara Conquest 1:42.8451 + 6.5060 24. Ed Carpenter Vision 1:43.0083 + 6.6692