Bourdais fastest in opening practice at Barber (VIDEO)

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Sebastien Bourdais has a new sponsor (Europa), new LED wheel covers (first premiered at Sonoma last year and now on again this session), and a new place on the speed charts – first after the first 75-minute practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series at Barber Motorsports Park.

The driver of the No. 11 Europa Chevrolet for KVSH Racing led opening practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a best time of 1:07.3399.

The wheels were just being tested today, per a team spokesperson to IndyCar Radio’s Jake Query. See below for more information.

More information on the Europa partnership is linked here; I spoke to KVSH Racing team co-owner James “Sulli” Sullivan this morning.

While Bourdais’ Chevrolet was on top, Honda had a very strong session with Jack Hawksworth, Carlos Munoz, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal locking down spots two through six.

This is Hawksworth’s first session with new engineer Daniele Cucchiaroni engineering the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda.

Juan Pablo Montoya lost the last few minutes of the session owing to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, in his first session testing a new carbon Bell helmet.

All told 0.9963 of a second covered first through 19th in the 21-car field.

With an electrical issue, the team not able to blame a battery, Tony Kanaan was only able to complete six laps in the session with the No. 10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Times are below.

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