Franchitti sixth-quickest at Long Beach

Bathgate’s Dario Franchitti finished sixth-fastest in pre-qualifying ahead of tomorrow’s second round of the IndyCar Championship, the Grand Prix of Long Beach in California.

The 35-year-old, who finished fourth in the opening race a fortnight ago and topped the timesheets in the first session at Long Beach, then had to settle for a best of 1min 11.0218secs in the final session.

“We changed a few wee things after the first session and we’ve discovered they didn’t quite work as well as we  expected,” Franchitti, who finished just 0.4732s behind the Penske of provisional polesitter Will Power, said today.

“It’s no big deal. Hopefully we can turn the wick up a bit for the race, get another good result and ideally get that first win of the season.” Franchitti’s Team Ganassi team-mate and defending champ, Kiwi Scott Dixon, was second fastest, 0.1192s behind Power.

Meanwhile Franchitti’s younger brother Marino starts the second round of the American Le Mans Series on the same 1.9-mile circuit from fifth on the grid, and third-fastest in the LMP2 class in his Dyson-Mazda.

The 30-year-old, who finished on the podium in the opening round two weeks ago and partnered again by American Butch Leitzinger, clocked a best of 1min 13.763secs, just 0.385s behind team-mates Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in fourth.

“We’ve improved the car since the opening round in Florida,” Franchitti, who will start behind the Acura of polesitters, Aussie David Brabham and American Scott Sharp, said today. “I still think we can push hard for the win.”


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