Today was a tough day weather-wise, at one of the most beautiful road courses on IndyCar’s calendar.
But, the Lotus drivers didn’t seem to be too bothered by the wet track at Barber Motorsports Park. It was practice as usual for them, as every lap is important for the Lotus cars.
In this afternoon’s practice, the cars ran in the pouring rain and thunder. Sebastien Bourdais (#7 Lotus Dragon Racing) was second fastest in that session with a time of 1:19.2 behind Takuma Sato (# 15 – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) who ran at 1:18.8. Only 18 cars, out of 26 went out on track for that practice and most of them only ran a few laps before calling it a day. All five Lotus drivers braved the rain and tried to get in as many laps as possible. At the end of the session, the highest finishing Lotus driver, Bourdais, was very satisfied with the car’s performance on the wet. “I am really happy with the way the car was behaving in the rain. I had so much grip this afternoon. I don’t think we changed anything from this morning. The car was really good. I was having fun out there.”
Heading into the week, Alex Tagliani (# 98 Lotus BHA) was not feeling well but was still looking forward to a good weekend in Alabama. When he left St. Petersburg on Sunday, he was diagnosed with Influenza A-B. These past few days he’s been taking measures to feel better and hopes to be back to 100 percent by race time on Sunday.
"Barber is going to be another test for us this weekend. I like the track quite a bit - it's intense and very difficult with high-speed corners and it's just a pretty fast track. Unfortunately, we had to change our engine after the race in St. Petersburg, so we'll be starting ten places behind our qualifying position this weekend. Also, some of the other teams have tested here in the off-
season, so there's a little bit of an advantage, but we'll continue to evolve with the car and do the best we can."
Despite bad weather conditions, Lotus HVM Racing’s Simona De Silvestro was pleased with her day. She ran in 10th position in her # 78 machine, during this afternoon’s wet practice, and didn’t seem to mind the rain at all.
“I think it was a positive day, she said. We started off with a pretty strong setup. We’re going to do a couple of changes for tomorrow that I think are going to go in the right direction. We just have to keep working hard. I think we have a lot of work on the engine side more than on the car side right now, so we have to really focus on that and hope for a good qualifying tomorrow.”
Oriol Servia (#22 – Lotus DRR) only ran 7 laps in today's first practice session. There was an electrical problem and the Lotus DRR crew had to fix the issue, and as a result Servia was unable to get back out. He clocked the 23rd quickest time of the day, with a time of 1:13.4.
"I'm a little disheartened because the one place that I kept saying since day one, that I wanted to spend some time testing was here and Sonoma. They are two very technical tracks and very important to find a good setup for the car and for the driver. You need lots of laps here. We didn't come testing and we had a little bit of bad luck today. We had an electrical issue in the first practice and only got one run in. During the second session we had a problem with the motor and didn't get to run much. We'll see what tomorrow brings and I'm sure we'll do the best job that we can."
The combined results from today’s practices placed Sebastien Bourdais in 16th position holding on to this morning’s practice times (1:12.2), followed by Simona de Silvestro (20th), Alex Tagliani (22nd), Oriol Servia (23rd), and Katherine Legge (26th).
Overall, the fastest IndyCar driver on track today was Will Power (#12 Team Penske), last year’s race winner at Barber, followed by Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske) and Takuma Sato (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) to round up top three.
Circuit length: 2.38-mile permanent road course
Race distance: 214.2 miles
Qualifying Broadcast: Saturday, March 31 at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports
Network (taped) Race broadcast (TV): Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (90 laps) (214.2 miles)
Race broadcast (radio): IMS Radio Network, XM 94 or Sirius 212