Sonoma IndyCar: Simon Pagenaud leads practice for Penske

Simon Pagenaud was fastest in third practice for the 2017 IndyCar season at Sonoma as he looks to become the first driver to successfully defend a series title since '11

Sonoma IndyCar: Simon Pagenaud leads practice for Penske

Pagenaud set a record lap time of 1m16.0329s to finish ahead of Ganassi's Scott Dixon by 0.1125 seconds.

The top five positions were filled by drivers in the fight for the championship as Will Power, points leader Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves completed a Penske 3-4-5.

Each waited until the final 20 minutes to compete for the top spots on the timesheets.

Takuma Sato propelled himself to sixth late on after spending almost two-thirds of the 45-minute session in the pitlane to work on his set-up.

Graham Rahal finished seventh, the position he begins the weekend in in the standings as the outsider in the title hunt.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan rounded out the top 10.

The other championship contender Alexander Rossi ended the session in 12th.

Ed Jones and James Hinchcliffe provided some drama by having separate spins before finishing 15th and 17th.

Jones lost control of his car in a half-spin between Turns 9 and 10, while Hinchcliffe faced the wrong way momentarily at Turn 2.

Debutant Zachary Claman DeMelo was 22nd as he continues to gain experience.

FP3 times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.0329s - 8
2 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m16.1454s 0.1125s 9
3 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.1609s 0.1280s 9
4 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.2973s 0.2644s 10
5 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m16.4782s 0.4453s 9
6 Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.5597s 0.5268s 7
7 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m16.6372s 0.6043s 14
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.6474s 0.6145s 7
9 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.6991s 0.6662s 8
10 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m16.7095s 0.6766s 8
11 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m16.7675s 0.7346s 7
12 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m16.7678s 0.7349s 10
13 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m17.0175s 0.9846s 13
14 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m17.1271s 1.0942s 15
15 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m17.1479s 1.1150s 12
16 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.2089s 1.1760s 13
17 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.2175s 1.1846s 11
18 Jack Harvey Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.2646s 1.2317s 12
19 Carlos Munoz AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.2836s 1.2507s 16
20 Conor Daly AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.3633s 1.3304s 13
21 J.R. Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.3684s 1.3355s 20
22 Zachary Claman Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m17.8448s 1.8119s 16

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