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Will Power edges out Dario Franchitti to top first Baltimore practice

Will Power got IndyCar's first visit to the streets of Baltimore underway by topping Friday's delayed opening practice session

The Penske driver spent much of the 90 minutes trading turns at the top of the timing screens with title rival Dario Franchitti before finally settling matters in the final moments with a 1m23.6130s, putting him just 0.0783s clear of the Ganassi driver's time.

A late push from Helio Castroneves was rewarded with third ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had enjoyed a brief stint on top before being demoted by Penske and Ganassi.

Hunter-Reay's Andretti Autosport team-mate Mike Conway was fifth quickest, with Ganassi's Graham Rahal sixth, ahead of KV's Takuma Sato. James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan and Sebastien Bourdais rounded out the top 10 for Newman/Haas, KV and Dale Coyne Racing respectively.

The track claimed a couple of high-profile scalps early on, starting with Ganassi's Scott Dixon. The New Zealander took the unfortunate honour of being the first driver to crash at the circuit when he clouted the outside barrier at Turn 4, ending his afternoon after just three laps.

Ryan Briscoe's participation was cut short soon afterwards, the Penske racer clipping the tyres on the way into the Turn 6 chicane. Both incidents triggered full-course yellows, as did a spin from Tomas Scheckter (Sam Schmidt Dragon) at Turn 8 and, later, simultaneous spins at Turns 1 and 6 by Ernesto Viso (KV) and Giorgio Pantano (Dreyer & Reinbold), although all were eventually able to get going again.

Pos  Driver               Team               Time        Gap
 1.  Will Power           Penske             1m22.138s  
 2.  Dario Franchitti     Ganassi            1m22.216s  + 0.078s
 3.  Helio Castroneves    Penske             1m22.285s  + 0.147s
 4.  Ryan Hunter-Reay     Andretti           1m22.603s  + 0.465s
 5.  Mike Conway          Andretti           1m22.726s  + 0.588s
 6.  Graham Rahal         Ganassi            1m22.739s  + 0.601s
 7.  Takuma Sato          KV                 1m22.971s  + 0.833s
 8.  James Hinchcliffe    Newman/Haas        1m23.008s  + 0.870s
 9.  Tony Kanaan          KV                 1m23.199s  + 1.061s
10.  Sebastien Bourdais   Dale Coyne         1m23.303s  + 1.165s
11.  Simona de Silvestro  HVM                1m23.373s  + 1.235s
12.  Alex Tagliani        Sam Schmidt        1m23.408s  + 1.270s
13.  Charlie Kimball      Ganassi            1m23.696s  + 1.558s
14.  Giorgio Pantano      Dreyer & Reinbold  1m23.732s  + 1.594s
15.  Tomas Scheckter      Dreyer & Reinbold  1m23.767s  + 1.629s
16.  Marco Andretti       Andretti           1m23.781s  + 1.644s
17.  Sebastian Saavedra   Conquest           1m23.812s  + 1.674s
18.  Ryan Briscoe         Penske             1m24.203s  + 2.065s
19.  Oriol Servia         Newman/Haas        1m24.209s  + 2.071s
20.  JR Hildebrand        Panther            1m24.246s  + 2.109s
21.  Vitor Meira          Foyt               1m24.268s  + 2.130s
22.  James Jakes          Dayle Coyne        1m24.408s  + 2.270s
23.  Ernesto Viso         KV                 1m24.414s  + 2.276s
24.  Danica Patrick       Andretti           1m24.500s  + 2.362s
25.  Martin Plowman       AFS/Sam Shmidt     1m25.051s  + 2.913s
26.  Scott Dixon          Ganassi            1m25.070s  + 2.932s
27.  Ana Beatriz          Dreyer & Reinbold  1m25.894s  + 3.756s
28.  Ed Carpenter         Sarah Fisher       1m26.026s  + 3.888s

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