Britain’s Jay Howard led the way at the Brickyard; Alonso posts his fastest lap of the week
By William Esler
Last Updated: 19/05/17 12:10am
Fernando Alonso finished Thursday practice for the Indianapolis 500 fourth quickest, as Britain’s Jay Howard led the way at the Brickyard.
Alonso replicated his performance of the previous day as he continues to build towards qualifying ahead of a bid for stage two of motorsport’s triple crown, having already won the Monaco GP and eyeing a future drive at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The Spaniard’s best lap saw him post an average lap speed of 225.619 mph, as he completed the 2.5 mile oval in 39.8902 seconds. The lap was by far Alonso’s fastest of the week and over a second better than he had achieved in windy conditions on Wednesday.
With the aid of his Andretti Autosport team-mates, Alonso was able to gain further experience of running in traffic during the final ‘happy hour’ of the day’s five-hour session, which most teams used to work on race rather than qualifying setups.
Like Alonso, Howard is making his 2017 debut at the Indy 500, having last driven an IndyCar in 2011. The Briton clocked an average lap speed of 226.744 mph to set the pace for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Alonso’s Andretti team-mates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti were second and third quickest as Honda-powered cars dominated.
Underling the pace of the Andretti cars, Takuma Sato was the fastest driver without the benefit of an aerodynamic tow clocking on the non-tow timesheet with a 224.734 mph
Britain’s Jay Howard set the pace on Thursday
Josef Newgarden was the best placed of the Chevrolet runners, but his day was brought to an early end after heavy contact with the wall.
As for the other British drivers, Max Chilton was 21st (223.783 mph), Pippa Mann 25th (223.048 mph) and Jack Harvey 29th (223.048 mph).
Friday is known as “Fast Friday” at the Indy 500 as the teams are allowed to turn the horsepower up further for the final practice session ahead of qualifying.
Indy 500 Thursday Practice Top 20 Time Sheet
Driver Team Speed (mph) Jay Howard Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 226.744 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport 225.826 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 225.709 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda Andretti 225.619 Josef Newgarden Team Penske 225.455 Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 225.185 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing 225.141 Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 224.837 Takumo Sato Andretti Autosport 224.771 Sebastian Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing 224.725 Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 224.611 Will Power Team Penske 224.563 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Autosport 224.503 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske 224.471 Helio Castroneves Team Penske 224.407 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 224.388 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 224.351 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing 224.331 Carlos Munoz A. J. Foyt Enterprises 224.291 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing 224.051
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