IndyCar| Sonsio Grand Prix of Road America| Rossi tops a quiet first Practice session

Andretti Autosport’s Alex Rossi got his Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America weekend off to a perfect start with the fastest time of the opening Practice session with Colton Herta completing an Andretti Autosport 1-2 after setting a time that was over a tenth down on his teammate.

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IndyCar| Sonsio Grand Prix of Road America| Rossi tops a quiet first Practice session
Fuente imagen: @FollowAndretti

Alex Rossi got his Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America weekend off to the best possible start with the fastest time of the opening Practice session.

The 33rd IndyCar race due to be run at Road America saw the return of Brit Callum Ilott after missing the Detroit Grand Prix because of a hand injury, whilst popular Swiss ace Simona De Silvestro was back in action for her first start of the season with Paretta Autosport and Ed Carpenter Racing. This weekend's race would be De Silvestro's first race since October and her first in a single-seater since last year's Indy 500.

De Silvestro and her fellow 26 competitors wasted little time when the session began, commencing their reconnaissance laps before quickly returning to the pits, although Devlin DeFrancesco and Jimmie Johnson stayed out during the session's more quieter moments.

After just six laps, De Silvestro was back in the pits with a brake fire cutting her running in this extended Practice session, whilst out on track Romain Grosjean headed the timesheets after just over 20 minutes had gone in the session with Josef Newgarden and Alex Palou marginally slower in second and third.

Rossi, fresh from his second place in last weekend's Detroit Grand Prix, took over from his teammate at the front of the times, banking a 1:46.6714, over two tenths quicker than Marcus Ericsson. The latter slotting into second after twenty-five minutes had gone in the session.

By half distance, Rossi led an Andretti Autosport 1-2-4 as Colton Herta squeezed himself between Rossi and Ericcson with a 1:46.7539 good enough for second fastest. Further back, Detroit winner Will Power led the Penske charge in fifth ahead of Josef Newgarden, Palou and birthday boy Scott McLaughlin.

Former Penske driver Helio Castroneves brought out the red flag with 18 minutes left in the session after the Brazilian veteran had a spin on the exit of Canada Corner beaching the number 06 Meyer Shank machine on the grass causing a delay of over five minutes.

When the session restarted, Newgarden leaped to the front after banking a 1:46.1714 before shaving a tenth off on his next run, but he was quickly bumped down to third as Herta and McLaughlin became the first two drivers to crack the 1:45s.

Rossi moved back to the front in the session's final minutes with a 1:45.6027, over a tenth quicker than Herta and good enough to finish the session quickest, whilst Ericsson was over two-tenths down in third.

Power finished fourth fastest ahead of Palou, McLaughlin, Scott Dixon, Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud and Pato O'Ward.

Shortly after the session's completion, Rossi delved into his love of Road America to selected media outlets, including Motorlat and how much he loves the challenge of completing a lap around the 4.048 miles circuit.

"I love this place. I think it's one of the top five permanent road courses in the world in my book. It's got everything. It's just a joy to drive around here. There's not much else to say. I don't think there's anything I dislike about it. It's a beautiful part of the world. The people are great. The fans are awesome. The weather is usually pretty good. All A-pluses in my book."

De Silvestro also talked about her initial struggles in the post-session press conference, but in spite of having to spend a little bit of time in the pits with a brake issue, the Swiss was enjoying her time back in IndyCar

"Yeah, we lost a little bit of time. The session was quite long in a sense. The break actually wasn't too bad for me because I can look at the data and start getting on top of things that I need to do better. I don't know why there's always fire around me (smiling). A nice welcome back to INDYCAR, I guess, for me. I don't know." 

"I think my last race was in October last year. In that sense, for sure, I think the race is going to be quite long. At the end of the day, I'm a racing driver, and I need to be prepared for this. I've been training quite hard. Hopefully, everything that I've done is going to be enough. But for sure, going back into a race that is two hours long, pushing these cars, you really drive these cars right at the limit, which you don't do in a GT. It's going to be interesting. I'm looking forward to it. First of all, I'm having a lot of fun driving it, so I think it will be all right."


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