Sunday, April 21, 2019

Rossi Leads Honda Brigade to End COTA Test


Alexander Rossi’s NAPA Auto Parts Honda and five other Indy cars powered by the Japanese manufacturer landed in the top six positions during the final session of the NTT IndyCar Series’ preseason test at Circuit of The Americas.

On his 30th of 31 laps of Session 4, Rossi lapped the 3.41-mile road course in 1:46.8535, creating a 0.1466-second gap between himself and Colton Herta, who topped the test’s first day.

That lap was Rossi’s fastest across the two-day test but wasn’t enough to overcome Herta’s Session 2 pace. Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s rookie turned 88 total laps during the test — matching his car number — and made himself the fastest IndyCar driver entering the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg by a margin of 0.2277 seconds.

Will Power also turned his best lap around the 3.41-mile road course in Tuesday’s second session and landed third on the combined timesheet after all four outings as the fastest Chevrolet pilot of the test, though six Hondas outpaced the top Chevrolet in the concluding session.

Rossi’s fellow Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay turned a 1:47.1757 in Session 4 to place fourth overall, gapping Simon Pagenaud by a mere 0.0359 seconds.

Ryan Hunter-Reay waits in COTA pit lane during IndyCar test
Ryan Hunter-Reay and his DHL Honda made 85 trips around COTA during the two-day Open Test. | Photo: Shivraj Gohil / Spacesuit Media

Chip Ganassi Racing newcomer Felix Rosenqvist was the sixth-fastest driver across both days on the strength of his 1:47.2941 lap in Session 4. Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Santino Ferrucci filled the remainder of the combined top 10 with Hondas, limiting Chevrolet’s presence in the group to just the two Team Penske entries.

While Power and RC Enerson turned 112 laps, Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson both turned 114, but Josef Newgarden spent the most time on the track as he turned 115 laps Tuesday and Wednesday in his No. 2 Chevrolet. Newgarden landed 11th on the combined results.

After turning 2,367 laps at the new IndyCar venue, the field will collectively return to action March 8–10, 2019 at the streets of St. Petersburg to kick off a new season.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
As editor-in-chief, Aaron brings a developing design and editorial vision to The Apex every day and co-hosts The Braking Point podcast every week. An avid reader, Aaron enjoys aligning his relentless care for quality with an interest in counterintuitive approaches.

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