Bourdais tops opening practice in Toronto

Sebastien Bourdais
Sebastien Bourdais

Sebastien Bourdais (KVSH Chevy) led a Chevy 1-2-3 in opening practice for the Toronto IndyCar race Friday morning. Bourdais' time of 1m02.929s was just 0.0448s better than Scott Dixon (Ganassi Chevy) and 0.0196s better than points leader Simon Pagenaud (Penske Chevy).

The Hondas of Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal rounded out the top-5.

While the familiar location is hosting its 30th Indy car race weekend, the historic circuit features some minor changes this year due to commercial construction in the infield. It adds a new layer to the teams’ already challenging checklist. Among the alterations, pit lane has been shifted to the north side of the circuit (drivers’ left exiting the track), which in turn has increased the track length slightly.

Despite the adjustments, Pagenaud and Bourdais agree Toronto maintains all the ingredients that have made it a fan and driver favorite.

“It’s interesting because the last complex (Turns 9, 10 and 11) is brand new – a lot tighter than before, a lot slower as well, so it’s a lot more technical," said Pagenaud, who leads the series points standings heading into Sunday’s race (2:30 p.m. ET, CNBC and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network). “There’s also quite a bit of tarmac changes and for the first time we will see an off-camber corner, which is Turn 10. … I’m looking forward to it."

Bourdais, a two-time Toronto race winner (2004 and 2014 Race 1), likes that the integrity of the entire Toronto track has been maintained. The slower final three corners, he believes, will add chances for more passes heading into Turn 1 at the iconic Princes’ Gate.

“I think it keeps the spirit of the track and it’s going to be harder than ever, so it’s all good," Bourdais said. “It’s going to be much slower (exiting Turn 11) so you’re going to have a longer run from a slower speed, less aero push and all that, so I think it will help getting a better run and more passing opportunity toward Turn 1, which used to be kind of difficult."

Results

Pos No Name FTime Diff Gap FL Laps FSpeed Engine
1 11 Sebastien Bourdais 1:02.929 0.000s 0.000s 11 18 102.172 Chevy
2 9 Scott Dixon 1:02.974 0.0448 0.0448 14 17 102.100 Chevy
3 22 Simon Pagenaud 1:03.125 0.1956 0.1508 19 19 101.856 Chevy
4 14 Takuma Sato 1:03.193 0.2635 0.0679 14 24 101.746 Honda
5 15 Graham Rahal 1:03.264 0.3346 0.0711 20 22 101.632 Honda
6 12 Will Power 1:03.321 0.3919 0.0573 21 22 101.540 Chevy
7 10 Tony Kanaan 1:03.348 0.4188 0.0269 12 24 101.497 Chevy
8 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:03.398 0.4694 0.0506 12 17 101.416 Honda
9 3 Helio Castroneves 1:03.491 0.5624 0.0930 9 17 101.267 Chevy
10 7 Mikhail Aleshin 1:03.519 0.5895 0.0271 20 21 101.224 Honda
11 98 Alexander Rossi 1:03.556 0.6271 0.0376 17 20 101.164 Honda
12 27 Marco Andretti 1:03.646 0.7167 0.0896 21 22 101.022 Honda
13 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 1:03.686 0.7567 0.0400 13 19 100.958 Chevy
14 83 Charlie Kimball 1:03.720 0.7911 0.0344 10 18 100.904 Chevy
15 21 Josef Newgarden 1:03.735 0.8062 0.0151 17 17 100.880 Chevy
16 20 Spencer Pigot 1:03.927 0.9983 0.1921 21 21 100.577 Chevy
17 26 Carlos Munoz 1:03.933 1.0036 0.0053 18 18 100.568 Honda
18 19 Luca Filippi 1:03.975 1.0462 0.0426 20 20 100.501 Honda
19 5 James Hinchcliffe 1:04.011 1.0817 0.0355 18 18 100.446 Honda
20 18 Conor Daly 1:04.201 1.2716 0.1899 18 21 100.149 Honda
21 41 Jack Hawksworth 1:04.235 1.3056 0.0340 12 19 100.096 Honda
22 8 Max Chilton 1:05.515 2.5863 1.2807 25 25 98.139 Chevy

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