Sonoma IndyCar: Penske's Helio Castroneves leads first practice

Team Penske's Helio Castroneves was fastest in first practice ahead of the 2016 IndyCar Series finale at Sonoma

The Brazilian's lap time of 1m17.330s deposed championship leader and Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud's early 1m17.850s mark from just his second lap.

Both 2016 championship contenders completed just a handful of laps in the opening session as they preferred to concentrate on the more representative conditions of practice two later on Friday, run at a more similar time to Sunday's race.

Pagenaud put in just five laps, with rival Will Power touring the sun-soaked Californian asphalt just four times, echoing the low mileage of fellow Penske drivers Castroneves (four laps) and Juan Pablo Montoya (eight laps). Power cited the track's tendency to use up tyre grip within just two-or-so laps.

Marco Andretti posted the second-fastest time, 0.131 seconds down on Castroneves.

Graham Rahal and Jack Hawksworth were next, while Ryan Hunter-Reay made it two Andretti cars inside the top five.

Mikhail Aleshin put in a fast lap towards the end of the session to end up sixth, with Josef Newgarden, Takuma Sato, James Hinchcliffe, and championship hopeful Pagenaud completing the top 10.

The uninterrupted practice session contained little drama, although 13th-fastest Tony Kanaan had a scary moment with around 25 minutes to go in the session, catching a big snap of oversteer as he crested the hill towards the Carousel corner.

Low mileage for Power resulted in the Australian ending the session in 17th place, just ahead of fellow Antipodean racer Scott Dixon, who won at the track 12 months ago to seal his fourth IndyCar championship.


Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.3298s - 4
2 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m17.4611s 0.1313s 15
3 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m17.4976s 0.1678s 20
4 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m17.5429s 0.2131s 15
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m17.5826s 0.2528s 11
6 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.6033s 0.2735s 21
7 Josef Newgarden Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.6386s 0.3088s 11
8 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda 1m17.7193s 0.3895s 23
9 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.8078s 0.4780s 19
10 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.8496s 0.5198s 5
11 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m17.8677s 0.5379s 23
12 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.9049s 0.5751s 8
13 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.9561s 0.6263s 12
14 R.C. Enerson Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m17.9777s 0.6479s 22
15 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.9969s 0.6671s 14
16 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m18.0368s 0.7070s 16
17 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m18.0804s 0.7506s 4
18 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m18.1574s 0.8276s 9
19 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m18.2291s 0.8993s 19
20 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m18.2566s 0.9268s 20
21 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m18.2853s 0.9555s 22
22 Conor Daly Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m19.1439s 1.8141s 15

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