Detroit IndyCar: Bourdais leads Honda-dominated first practice
Sebastien Bourdais put Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan on top in opening practice at Belle Isle, as Honda cars occupied the top eight times ahead of the double-header weekend.
Bourdais, who won race 2 here in 2015 and race 1 in 2016, produced a 1min17.8545sec lap to edge Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon by a mere 0.0623sec and last year’s double-winner Graham Rahal by 0.1285sec.
Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach were fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth quickest respectively for Andretti Autosport, their symmetry ruined by a novice.
Santino Ferrucci, subbing for Pietro Fittipaldi in the #19 Dale Coyne Racing-Honda, and with only a brief test at Putnam Park in Illinois, to his name, was one of the few drivers to get a clean lap in when the cars were release from pitlane with a minute to go following a red-flag stoppage, and he made the most of it to go to P6.
That red flag was caused by Robert Wickens visiting the Turn 7 runoff, stalling and needing a bumpstart. It wasn’t the first stoppage of the session; that had come eight minutes earlier when Rene Binder stuffed his Juncos Racing-Chevrolet into the tire barrier at the bumpy medium-speed Turn 11, thankfully without much damage.
Top Chevrolet runner was Josef Newgarden in ninth, his Team Penske teamamtes Simon Pagenaud and Will Power occupying P11 and P13. Tenth was Tony Kanaan for AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet.
The Honda team that appears to be struggling quite surprisingly is Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Wickens only 15th and James Hinchcliffe 21st.
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