Pagenaud Runs Third in Practice at Sonoma
Simon Pagenaud led the Honda-powered field Friday in Sonoma, California, posting the third quickest time around the 2.31-mile road course in IZOD IndyCar Series practice in preparation for Sunday’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti closed to within a tenth of a second of Pagenaud in the final minutes of practice to end the day fourth fastest, with his Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Graham Rahal seventh and eighth, respectively.
The raceway at Sonoma is using a slightly revised layout in 2012, featuring changes to Turns 7, 9 and 11 to enhance passing. The circuit modifications were utilized and approved by series officials and drivers at a pre-race test at the Northern California road course. The changes altered the track length, so this year’s race will run for 85 laps, a 10-lap increase from previous IZOD IndyCar Series events at Sonoma.
Simon Pagenaud (#77 Schmidt Hamilton Racing Honda) third quickest in Friday practice: “It was a very good start for us. The car was better than at the test, and we learned a lot of good things today. The wind was very different today, it was a tail wind going into Turn 1 and that made our entry speed different and the line a bit different, too. I think we are very close now, there are just a few more things we need to do for qualifying.”