LOUDON, New Hampshire (August 11, 2011) – The learning curve for Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s IZOD Indy Car Series rookie Pippa Mann was quadrupled on Thursday as the young driver had four tough corners to negotiate in trying to find the fast way around the tricky one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval.
Of the quartet of curves, it was the second that gave the Brit an unwelcome birthday present as she had a pair of spins in Turn Two as part of her 75-lap test effort, the last of which resulted in slight contact with the wall and minimal wing and suspension damage. Mann was unhurt in the incident and will be able to continue competing over the rest of the weekend in the #30 Honda/Dallara/Firestone Indy Car.
The day saw the RLL squad use a pair of test sessions to get Mann ready for this weekend’s MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225, logging 75 laps over the two sessions. The former Indy Lights racewinner carded a quick time of 23.2442 seconds (158.749 mph) on the 50th of her 75 laps.
“We worked very hard throughout the morning on making the car better and the RLL guys made some really good changes to the car that felt like they were going to help us,” Mann reported. “We found some grip and some stability and were working on gathering speed over the bumps when we had our incident. I am disappointed but I know that the whole team will work very hard to get everything where we need it to be for Saturday’s qualifying!”
The team conducted the session in 10-lap increments throughout the early part of the day, letting Mann test each of the changes that were made on the car — while also allowing her more time to gather feedback on subsequent improvements. The pace was picking up and both the car and the driver were showing good pace before the day ended.
“We didn’t have the day we wanted today, but racing is like that and I know that Pippa will be even more determined to do great things when we getting running again on Saturday,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “She worked hard today and pushed the car hard, which is what you have to do in order to get the most out of it. Our Rahal Letterman Lanigan guys will work hard to put a good car under her and Pippa will do her best to move it up the grid.”
Mann will have two more practice sessions prior to Saturday’s qualifying to get back up to speed before single-car qualifying takes place at 3:00 p.m.. Sunday’s MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 will get underway at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time and can be seen live on ABC. Fans can follow all of the action in every session live via their computer by visiting www.indycar.com