AUSTIN, TX – The Andretti Autosport Honda’s were quick at the NTT IndyCar Series preseason testing back in February. They carried that speed over to the season opener on the streets of St. Pete two weeks ago. That speed has come back again this weekend at the site of the preseason test – Circuit of the Americas.
In the two practice sessions on Friday from the 3.427-mile Texas road course, both Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay were found in the top five of each session.
Rossi, was P3 in both practices, turning in a lap of 1:49.045-seconds in the 45 minute first practice and 1:47.931-seconds in the second session later on in the afternoon. The American driver is one of the few with past COTA experience as he took part in the Formula One race weekend here in the past.
He also was one of the first drivers to test an Indy Car on the 20 turn facility last fall. Rossi, was fifth quickest in the first practice of the weekend in St. Pete and finished fifth in the race itself.
“It was a very uneventful day, which I guess is a good thing sometimes,” said Rossi. “We ran through some changes and have a pretty good idea of where we need to be tomorrow. I think it will be about maximizing the (Firestone alternate) red tires for the conditions that present themselves in qualifying. Generally, it was a pretty drama free day – I think we have the NAPA AUTO PARTS car in a good spot ending day one.”
Hunter-Reay was really quick in St. Pete in being second, first and first respectively in the three practice sessions and qualified his car fifth. In COTA on Friday, Hunter-Reay was fourth quick in each session going 1:49.501-seconds in the first practice and 1:48.120-seconds in the second one.
“I think it was a positive day, we ended up fourth overall,” Hunter-Reay said. “We’ve got some areas we need to improve on, so we’ll work on that overnight. I definitely have a few areas on the track where I’d like the car to improve. Everything is a compromise at tracks like this between the front and the rear of the car – it’s about getting that compromise right and putting it all together on track. That’s what we’re working on for the DHL team, and I think we have a direction to head in to help.”