Friday, 21 March 2008 08:10
IndyCar Series™ open test 2 - Thursday report : -
Conquest Racing wraps up testing in Sebring with strong performance.
Conquest Racing completed a satisfying first IndyCar® Series test today at Sebring International Raceway. The team’s second and final day of testing on the 1.66 mile road course was a more productive one than yesterday with both drivers posting competitive lap times. Unluckily for the team, track time was once again cut short, this time on account of morning showers.
Once the track went green, the Conquest Racing pair of Enrique Bernoldi and Franck Perera jumped into their Dallara/Honda/Firestone cars and combined to put in a total of 138 laps in what was cut down to a five hour session. Bernoldi, who was making his first appearance aboard his #36 Opes Prime Conquest machine, was the faster of the two with a lap of 53.2843 seconds (112.829 mph).
The Brazilian commented on his first IndyCar Series test: “It went well. It was good to get a feel for the car and the team and to get to work with my engineer Brandon (Fry). We lost a lot of time yesterday but we still did a good job overall. The guys did excellent work to get us here and we didn’t have any problems. There is still room for improvement but this was a good first test. The Dallara is fun to drive, it doesn’t have as much power as what I am used to but I enjoyed it. Now I look forward to driving on the oval with this car next week in Homestead, should be fun!”
Frenchman “Fearless” Franck Perera driving the #34 ARES car was not far behind with a time of 53.3159 seconds (112.762 mph) and was also content with his first time in the Dallara.
“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into the test, but I am happy with the end result,” expressed Perera. “Once we were able to get some track time in things were good. I was able to learn a lot about the car. I pushed a little too hard at times and made some mistakes. However, overall it was a good experience. I can’t wait to test this car on an oval next week. It should be interesting and it will be a brand new experience for me. Finally, I want to thank the guys for all the work they did to get the cars ready for this test. They did a great job.”
“I’m happy to say that we’ve accomplished our first goal which was to be here in Sebring. We were a little bit behind yesterday but as of now we are right on schedule with everything and have met our self-imposed deadline,” said Eric Bachelart, owner of Conquest Racing. “We had a really good test. We ran many miles today without any problems and we gained a lot of knowledge that will help us with our preparation for St. Petersburg in a couple of weeks. Now we can focus on our oval preparation which starts early next week with another two-day test.
“I’m also pleased with Enrique’s performance as it was his first test with us,” added Bachelart. “He just fit right in with everyone and was very easy to work with. More importantly both our drivers ran competitive times and were very closely matched.”
Anthony Blumberg, co-owner of Conquest Racing said: “We’ve taken our first step into the IndyCar Series, and it was a big one to take with so little time on our hands, but I am so proud of this team. The whole team has done an amazing job and has worked very hard getting ready for this test. The performance in Sebring has demonstrated the professionalism of this organization and showed what people can expect from this team this season.”
Next up for the Conquest Racing team will be a two-day oval test at Homestead-Miami Speedway under the lights March 24 and 25 where both Bernoldi and Perera will get their first taste of an oval. The season then gets underway March 29 with the Gainsco Auto Insurance Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.