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Indy 500: Fast Friday

Friday, May 18, 2012 - 22:45
Fast Friday, the final day of practice before Saturday’s Indy 500 qualifying, was hot and sunny in Indianapolis, with temperatures up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Jean Alesi, Indycar, Indy500, helmetIt’s been called Fast Friday for many years now, and it’s apt as all IndyCars were given extra boost for the session. The Lotus cars picked up some speed with the boost increase, but so did everyone else.

Jean Alesi (#64 – Lotus Fan Force United) got the F.P.Journe car up to 213.4mph, his fastest so far. “Today was our final day of testing. Tomorrow, we go for the qualifying. I feel we have a very good car under us, and I did notice the horsepower change we had in the engine. There is good balance in the car. We have been getting better day after day, and doing what we have to do, and now the next thing we have to do is qualifying, as we prepare for the race. So, let’s see what we can do."

The other Lotus driver, Simona de Silvestro (#78 – Lotus HVM Racing) clocked 212.5mph, and described it as “A pretty good day. We made progress and found a little bit of speed. I think we should be alright for qualifying. We know where we are and we made some improvements today. The team has been working hard, stepping it up every day. Today we made some little changes, but we’re definitely going the right direction, so that’s really positive.”

Jean Alesi is very comfortable in his F.P.Journe car. He has proved a quick learner, as one might expect of a grand prix winner, and displays his natural talent in the way he handles the IndyCar. He loves the feel of the track. He loves the fans, the ambiance, the whole Indy experience. It’s all new to him, but as he said when he jumped into the car the first time: “I am so excited, I feel like a kid with a new toy.”

The Lotus Fan Force United team is very impressed with Jean’s level of professionalism. There is nothing but mutual respect here, as Jean says of the FFU team: “This team has so much talent and experience, it is a real pleasure working with them. I can’t say enough about them.”

Alesi has been getting great advice and support from his team, from racing legends such as Buddy Lazier, Danny Sullivan, and competitors drivers Dario Franchitti and Rubens Barichello.

The fastest time of the day was 227.5mph set by Marco Andretti (#26 - Andretti Autosport). Josef Newgarden (#67 – Sarah Fisher Hartman) was the fastest rookie all week, with a time of 225mph. However he did brush the wall on Wednesday. It was mostly a routine day except for the engine failure in Michel Jourdain's car, which caused a brief fire.

Saturday is Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Each IndyCar driver will get just four laps to qualify. A huge crowd is expected to attend as the excitement builds for the Indy 500.