Tagliani fastest in morning session
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, May 21st 2011, 14:04 GMT|
Alex Tagliani and Sam Schmidt Motorsports underlined that they could be a threat for pole in Indianapolis 500 qualifying by setting the pace in the morning practice session.
The Canadian has been rapid throughout the rain-interrupted practice week, and lapped in 228.184mph in today's early group session - a pace good enough to keep him on top through the full-field hour that followed.
Panther Racing's Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy winner, showed his best form of the week to get second overall by topping the second group session, 0.0581 seconds off Tagliani's pace.
Championship leader Will Power was third for Penske, with one of his team-mates Helio Castroneves fifth behind Ganassi's Scott Dixon.
But it was a tough morning for Penske's other driver Ryan Briscoe, who spun into the Turn 2 wall in his group half-hour. He was quickly given medical clearance to return to the track in his spare car, but was some way off his earlier pace.
Last year's winner Dario Franchitti (Ganassi) was sixth, ahead of Tagliani's team-mate Townsend Bell, Foyt driver Vitor Meira, Rice's team-mate JR Hildebrand and Bertrand Baguette (Rahal Letterman Lanigan).
Simona de Silvestro looks set to be able to participate in qualifying after getting medical approval to return for practice. She was 38th fastest for HVM.