Raikkonen tests GP3 car to aid with development

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Kimi Raikkonen may be lying in second place in the Formula One drivers’ championship, but the Finnish driver has taken a step down the motorsport ladder today by testing a GP3 car at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

GP3 is widely regarded as being the series two ‘steps’ away from Formula One, supporting the premier class alongside GP2 for some of the season. It has produced two F1 drivers – Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas – and Caterham’s American test driver Alexander Rossi also spent a year in the series in 2010, winning two races.

Although such a test may seem odd to many, Raikkonen expressed his interest in testing a GP3 car to the series’ official website.

“I wanted to test the GP3/13 because my friend Afa Heikkinen has a team in this series and I have been closely following their progress and results since the beginning of the season,” the Finn explained. “I was curious to see how the car handled and it was actually fun to drive.”

Raikkonen praised the car for preparing young drivers well for Formula One, with his feedback helping to iron out any problems.

“There were a few issues regarding its behaviour, but we managed to solve most of them. The GP3/13 is a very good tool for young drivers, especially when you have to learn about tyre management like we have in F1.”

Raikkonen’s comments will be taken into consideration when developing the GP3 car for 2014.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo: IndyCar
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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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