Apr 13, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Marco Andretti totaled 11 laps in the initial practice session for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach before calling it a day because of an afternoon rainstorm that blew off the ocean. It wasn’t what he wanted, of course, or needed in the new Chevrolet-powered No. 26 Team RC Cola car on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn course.
But “it is what it is,” he said, which succinctly summed up the day and weather that was more like Indiana than Southern California in mid-April.
Some wet sections on the street circuit and others relatively dry caught teams/drivers in between. Use Firestone Firehawk rain tires for recon laps or slicks for lap time?
“It was too wet for the dry tire and too dry for the (rain) tire because of the conditions,” said Takuma Sato, who was second quick in the morning session (1 minute, 17.9448 seconds on seven laps) in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car. “The first practice session started with damp conditions and we ran very few laps just to see how the initial setup was in terms of ride height and those sorts of things. We didn’t have a proper run so all of the work is moving to (April 14). Hopefully we have a good one-hour session before qualifying."
Practice 1 results || Qualifying groups || Entrant list || Weekend schedule
Andretti’s crew opted for slicks.
"We were the first to put on slicks, and I was glad we were able to put a good time in the books,” said Andretti, driving the Andretti Autosport car. “But with so little running in the dry, it doesn't really show anything. The real key is going to be practice three. That's going to tell the story and we'll be able to see what we have in dry conditions."
The weather forecast is considerably improved for the weekend – practice (1:25 p.m. ET) and the three rounds of qualifications (5 p.m.) and the 85-lap race April 15 (3:30 p.m.).