Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, April 8, 2011
TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA SEVENTH IN PRACTICE FOR THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA; SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE NINTH
FASTEST: Will Power | 1:12.8364 | 113.679 mph
7th: Oriol Servia | 1:13.3460 | 112.890 mph
9th: James Hinchcliffe | 1:13.4241 | 112.770 mph
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The day started strange; we are still trying to figure out what happened. The Grand-Am series ran in the morning and all day yesterday and there was a lot of different rubber on the track that we thought wasn’t going to effect us too much. But the truth is that in the first session, both of our cars were very, very different to what they were at the test and the setup was the same. Not only were we slow but the cars didn’t feel the same. We changed the Telemundo car a little bit for the second session but it got a lot better. We think it was just that the track got cleaner when it rained and it became a lot closer to how it was at the test and we were a lot closer to the guys at the front like we were at the test. We didn’t get to run a second set of tires in the second session like some guys did so I think we are closer to where we were at the test – fifth or so. There is still more in the Telemundo car. Its only Friday so we hope to keep improving for qualifying and the race which is were the points are given.”
FAST FACTS: Will be his first time to race at this course. He attended the 2010 open test as a spectator and drove here for the first time at the 2011 IICS open test on March 14-15 where he set the fifth fastest time overall as well as temporarily held the fastest time on 3-15…Servia also tested with the team in Sebring for two days in December 2010. Prior to that his previous time behind the wheel of an Indy car was also with NHR at the 2009 race in Japan where he finished fourth…Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 16 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of seven top-three, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. In 2005, Servia replaced NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a season-ending injury at the Indy 500 on May 29, and then went on to finish second to teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the point standings after 11 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I think we had a respectable first day. Obviously we came here with different conditions than we had at the test, other series were here and the weather is different. We struggled a little bit this morning in the first practice but the guys worked really hard in a very short break between sessions and we made big improvements on the cars. For the first day on the job as an Indy car driver getting a top-10 in practice for the Sprott car is pretty good. I think there is a little bit more time in it but it’s just so competitive. I sit here and think ‘Man, I wish we could be a couple of spots higher’ and then I look at the names of the guys who are a couple of spots higher and think ‘No wait, I shouldn’t be any where near this.’ The racer in me wants a little bit more but realistically I think the Sprott team had a really good first day. Thank you to the team for all of the hard work today.”
FAST FACTS: Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) is the only track James has driven an Indy car on to date that he will race on this season. The team ran James in two, two-day tests at Sebring International Raceway prior to bringing him to BMP for the open test March 14-15. He set the fifth fastest time overall on Monday (3-14) and the seventh fastest (3-15) overall time over two days at the IICS open test at Barber as well as temporarily held the fastest time on Tuesday…Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after wins in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicagoland and poles in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Watkins Glen and Edmonton. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races. Hinchcliffe progressed through the ranks of the Rotax (2002), F2000 (2003), Formula BMW (2004), Star Mazda (2005), and Atlantic series (2006-2008) before joining the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2009. He also competed in a season of A1GP competition (2007)…He tested with NHR for two days at Sebring in December and another two days in January before testing at Barber Motorsports Park March 14-15 where he set the seventh fastest time overall at the test.
NEWMAN/HAAS RACING AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK: This will be the second race here for the team, the first for Oriol Servia, and the series debut for James Hinchcliffe. The team set the fifth (Servia) and seventh (Hinchcliffe) fastest times in the open test here March 14-15. Hideki Mutoh competed for the team at Barber in 2010. He was seventh and eighth fastest in the practice sessions but the timing of a caution in qualifying limited him to a 17th place start. Limited passing opportunities resulted in a 15th place finish.
NEXT UP: Practice and qualifying will take place tomorrow. Versus will air coverage of qualifying at 6 p.m. ET tomorrow. Live timing & scoring of every session can be seen free of charge on www.indycar.com The 90-lap Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live on Versus at 3:00 p.m. ET Sunday.