Rahal & Doornbos conclude NHLR's 2-Day Sebring Test Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) drivers Graham Rahal and Robert Doornbos completed a trouble-free day of testing today at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway to bring the team’s two-day test here to a close. It was the team’s first time to conduct two full days of testing on a road course in an Indy car since they joined the IndyCar Series one year ago.
After testing here on Tuesday, Doornbos utilized his additional allocation of test miles given to series rookies and ran again today. For Rahal, it was the first time he got behind the wheel of an Indy car on a road course for testing since the team had to abort a three hour test here on April 1, 2008 when rain ended the day after approx. six laps. Both Rahal and Doornbos were happy with the progress made throughout the day.
“It was really nice to get back in the race car on a road course,” said Rahal who set a fast lap time of 52.8. “It was my first time in about five months, since the Surfer’s Paradise (Australia) race, to be on a road course so it was a bit of a wake-up session this morning. As the day went on I feel we learned a lot of good things that can help us all season. I think a lot of the things we tried will translate to the tracks we will race on this season and that is what we need most.”
“It was good to get on track again, especially after having a day off to analyze everything,” said Doornbos who set a fast lap time of 53.1. “We were in the zone this morning, running fast times in the low 53’s. Everything was going so well that by lunchtime we almost reached our limit in the mileage we are allowed to run so we took a break. After lunch we made two runs and called it a day. It was good to run with Graham today and exchange information. We improved the cars as the day went on. I’m looking forward to the test at Barber and then I will just be counting the days until the first race. I can’t wait to get started.”
The IndyCar Series will hold an open test on the 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, Alabama on March 22-23. The 2009 season will begin with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on April 5 which will be televised live on the Versus network. NHLR earned their first ICS victory, and 106th of 107 overall in the event in 2008 when Rahal became the youngest winner in series history in his IndyCar Series debut.
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