Power tops IndyCar testing

Last year's runner-up Will Power got his 2011 IndyCar title bid off to a good start with the fastest time on the opening day of the official pre-season test at Barber Motorsports Park

Power tops IndyCar testing

The Penske driver was quickest in both the morning and afternoon sessions at the Alabama road course, his 1m12.5056s beating second-placed Scott Dixon (Ganassi) by half a tenth of a second.

There were encouraging signs of challenges to the usual Penske/Ganassi dominance at the head of the order, with Justin Wilson taking Dreyer & Reinbold to third place, ahead of Penske's Helio Castroneves.

But the star of the day was potential rookie James Hinchcliffe, testing for Newman/Haas again as he continues to work towards a deal with the squad. The Canadian took second place in the morning and was fifth overall.

Ryan Briscoe was sixth for Penske, having caused a stoppage with a minor off in the morning. KV's Takuma Sato - who will carry 'Pray for Japan' logos on his car tomorrow following the natural disaster in his homeland - and Panther's JR Hildebrand also had incidents during the day.

EJ Viso put the lead KV car in seventh, with returnee Mike Conway the fastest of Andretti Autosport's quartet in eighth, just ahead of team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Alex Tagliani completed the top 10 in his now Sam Schmidt Motorsports-run car, while reigning champion Dario Franchitti was back in 12th for Ganassi.

Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, who looks increasingly likely to do a part-season deal with Dale Coyne Racing, was 16th. Coyne also gave a surprise IndyCar debut to GP2 driver James Jakes, the Briton taking 23rd in the team's #19 car.

Testing concludes with another full day of running tomorrow.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Will Power Penske 1m12.5056s 2. Scott Dixon Ganassi 1m12.5538s + 0.0482s 3. Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold 1m12.6791s + 0.1735s 4. Helio Castroneves Penske 1m12.7764s + 0.2708s 5. James Hinchcliffe Newman/Haas 1m12.8729s + 0.3673s 6. Ryan Briscoe Penske 1m12.9715s + 0.4659s 7. EJ Viso KV 1m13.0170s + 0.5114s 8. Mike Conway Andretti 1m13.0338s + 0.5282s 9. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti 1m13.1048s + 0.5992s 10. Alex Tagliani Schmidt 1m13.1187s + 0.6131s 11. Graham Rahal Ganassi 1m13.1366s + 0.6310s 12. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 1m13.1524s + 0.6468s 13. Takuma Sato KV 1m13.1913s + 0.6857s 14. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas 1m13.2537s + 0.7481s 15. Marco Andretti Andretti 1m13.2586s + 0.7530s 16. Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne 1m13.2904s + 0.7848s 17. Simona de Silvestro HVM 1m13.4546s + 0.9490s 18. Charlie Kimball Ganassi 1m13.4830s + 0.9774s 19. Danica Patrick Andretti 1m13.7102s + 1.2046s 20. Vitor Meira Foyt 1m13.7737s + 1.2681s 21. Sebastian Saavedra Conquest 1m13.8020s + 1.2964s 22. JR Hildebrand Panther 1m14.5534s + 2.0478s 23. James Jakes Dale Coyne 1m14.7775s + 2.2719s 24. Ana Beatriz Dreyer & Reinbold 1m15.0777s + 2.5721s 
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