Penske duo head opening day of testing

Team Penske team-mates Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves set the pace on the opening day of testing for the IRL IndyCar Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway yesterday (Monday)

Penske duo head opening day of testing

Two-time CART champion de Ferran lapped in 26.2440secs (205.761mph) in his Toyota-powered Dallara, posted in the afternoon session which was interrupted three times by rain.

"It was a good day for us," said de Ferran. "Unfortunately, it rained a little, but that didn't affect things very much. We had the opportunity to work on both the race set-up and the qualifying set-up. Even though we're fast, I'm still not 100 percent happy yet. We can still improve the car in both qualifying and race configurations. It's nice to see that we have the speed."

Castroneves lapped in 26.3021s, set in the morning session, which started 70 minutes late due to damp track conditions. He declared: "I'm going to come here on March 2 and kick everybody's butt, hopefully."

Nineteen drivers drove on the 1.5-mile oval, which plays host to the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2. Michael Andretti was third overall at 26.3612s, but the surprise of the day was rookie Roger Yasukawa, who was fourth fastest on 26.5158s. Both were using Honda-powered cars.

Defending champion Sam Hornish Jr was eighth overall at 26.6530s as Chevrolet continues to struggle in comparison to its Honda- and Toyota-powered opposition.

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