IndyCar St Petersburg: Ryan Hunter-Reay tops first practice

Ryan Hunter-Reay began his IndyCar title defence by going fastest in the opening practice session for this weekend's season-opener at St Petersburg

IndyCar St Petersburg: Ryan Hunter-Reay tops first practice

Hunter-Reay moved to the top of the charts midway through the session with a best lap of 1m02.4534s, bettering the benchmark 1m02.6041s that had earlier been set by Will Power.

James Hinchliffe also beat Power's time to make it an Andretti Autosport one-two with a lap 0.0010s off Hunter-Reay's time.

Power also improved upon his earlier lap, with his best effort of 1m02.5464s leaving him in third place just ahead of EJ Viso, thus denying the Andretti team a lock-out of the top three positions.

KV Racing had an encouraging start to the weekend with Tony Kanaan and Simona de Silvestro finishing the morning fifth and seventh-fastest respectively, the pair book-ending Dario Franchitti, who posted the quickest time by a Honda-powered driver.

Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais and Marco Andretti rounded out the top 10.

Tristan Vautier's first session as an IndyCar driver ended with the Frenchman posting the 13th-fastest lap, putting him just ahead of Scott Dixon, who endured an early spin and then struggled with what he described as "issues with a lot of different things".

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m02.4534s 2. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m02.4544s + 0.0010s 3. Will Power Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m02.5464s + 0.0930s 4. EJ Viso Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m02.5759s + 0.1225s 5. Tony Kanaan KV Dallara-Chevy 1m02.6114s + 0.1580s 6. Dario Franchitti Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m02.6823s + 0.2289s 7. Simona de Silvestro KV Dallara-Chevy 1m02.6950s + 0.2416s 8. Josef Newgarden Fisher Dallara-Honda 1m02.7308s + 0.2774s 9. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m02.8867s + 0.4333s 10. Marco Andretti Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m02.9252s + 0.4718s 11. Helio Castroneves Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m02.9298s + 0.4764s 12. James Jakes Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m02.9889s + 0.5355s 13. Tristan Vautier Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m03.0350s + 0.5816s 14. Scott Dixon Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m03.0577s + 0.6043s 15. Charlie Kimball Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m03.0971s + 0.6437s 16. Oriol Servia Panther/DRR Dallara-Chevy 1m03.1281s + 0.6747s 17. JR Hildebrand Panther Dallara-Chevy 1m03.1421s + 0.6887s 18. Takuma Sato Foyt Dallara-Honda 1m03.1997s + 0.7463s 19. Justin Wilson Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m03.2089s + 0.7555s 20. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m03.2320s + 0.7786s 21. Sebastian Saavedra Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m03.3909s + 0.9375s 22. Alex Tagliani BHA Dallara-Honda 1m03.4498s + 0.9964s 23. Graham Rahal Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m03.7855s + 1.3321s 24. Ed Carpenter Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 1m04.0139s + 1.5605s 25. Ana Beatriz Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m04.6239s + 2.1705s 
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