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Saavedra Completes Rookie Orientation Program

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Sebastian Saavedra, Indianapolis 500

Saavedra Completes Rookie Orientation Program

Andrew Herta
Bryan Herta Autosport
May 16, 2010

Sebastian Saavedra successfully completed the four required speed phases of Rookie Orientation (ROP) this afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Saavedra, one of seven rookies to finish the program, overcame a delay due to a fuel pump problem on the #29 William Rast Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry shortly after he concluded the second phase at noon today.

The team was able to return to the track at 2:30 pm* during the open practice session for all competitors. Saavedra completed the final two phases shortly afterward, turning a total of 45 laps with a best lap of 218.916 mph.

*Rain hindered Rookie Orientation yesterday. As a result, today’s schedule was adjusted to include Rookie Orientation from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and open practice from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Fastest Speeds of the Day:

1. Helio Castroneves 227.046 mph
2. Scott Dixon 226.202 mph
3. Dario Franchitti 226.044 mph

Sebastian Saavedra, #29 William Rast Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I am very happy to complete all phases of Rookie Orientation. I felt very comfortable with the car and the speeds at every step. Once we completed the program, we started to focus on the car and began to take downforce off so I can learn what a real Indy car feels like around Indianapolis. It was a great day overall and I am very happy. We had some problems in the morning [fuel pump] but the team did an incredible job to make the repairs in a short amount of time. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Bryan Herta, Team Co-Owner: “I am very happy to get Sebastian through the Rookie Orientation phase of our month of May. We are looking forward to getting our race engine in and to start working with the car to coax more speed out of it.”

Roberto Guerrero [Mentoring Saavedra]: “It was a perfect day. You really couldn’t ask for more from Rookie Orientation. Sebastian is at a point where he can stay wide open all the way around and is very comfortable with the car. Now we can start working for real and the speed will start coming up.”

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