KV Racing Technology drivers Oriol Servia and Will Power were first and second respectively on the speed charts following this afternoon’s “Rookie” practice session in preparation for Saturday’s SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia.
Servia, KV Racing Technology #5 Honda/Dallara/Firestone, in his first IndyCar season and making his first appearance on the .75-mile high-banked D-shaped Richmond oval, logged a speed of 167.295 mph. Meanwhile Power, KV Racing Technology #8 Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone, who is a rookie in the IndyCar Series and also making his debut at RIR, recorded a lap of 165.295 mph.
Servia, who is not considered an IndyCar rookie due to his extensive oval experience (he has 34 oval starts in his eight plus seasons of U.S. open-wheel racing), was able to practice today due to a ruling by the Indy Racing League that all drivers transitioning from the Champ Car World Series to the IndyCar Series, as well as some veteran driver’s needing a refresher, are eligible to participate in “rookie practices” at Milwaukee, Richmond and Nashville. A total of 12 drivers participated in this afternoon’s practice.
“I am happy with how we spent our practice time today,” Servia said. “The KV Racing Technology car is still a little slow compared to the times from last year, but I am happy with how the #5 car felt. We accomplished what we need and that was to get a feel for the race track and the car. And, we are not that far off. We had pretty good balance, so I am looking forward to a better race than last weekend.”
Power said, “It was good for Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia to get some extra track time here at Richmond International Raceway. We will be more prepared when everyone is here tomorrow. In addition to working on the setup, we also used today to do a long run so I could get an idea of how the #8 car is in a race stint. It’s definitely a short track, just .75 mile and will be very difficult to pass.”
There will be a full all car practice tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. followed by a split session practice with the first group going out at 3:15 p.m. and the second at 4:15 p.m. Both Servia and Power will practice in the first group. Qualifying is scheduled from 7:30 p.m. The SunTrust Indy Challenge is Round #9 of the 18-race 2008 IndyCar Series season. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
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