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Chip Ganassi Racing says it was impressed by IndyCar signing Felix Rosenqvist’s pace compared to championship-winning team-mate Scott Dixon on his first test using IndyCar’s universal aerokit at Barber.
Rosenqvist, who was announced as Ganassi’s second 2019 driver last month, had driven twice previously with the team but completed his first test mileage with the new body kit the series introduced this year in a private test on Monday.
Rosenqvist had already driven at Barber during his part-time Indy Lights campaign in 2016, and Ganassi said the Swede made a good early impression this week by immediately being able to lap “within two tenths” of Dixon.
“We used one of our team test days so they could test together, and Felix was good,” said Dixon’s race engineer Chris Simmons.
“He got plenty of miles in, he was very comfortable in the car, and the pace was good.
“He definitely felt the difference with the low downforce of the spec Dallara kit, but I don’t think it will be a problem for him adapting. He’ll be right there in no time.
“The track got better later in the day and Scott got some good runs in then, but most of the day Felix was within a couple of tenths of what Scott was doing, which was good to see.
“He hadn’t been to Barber for a couple of years, so he did a great job.
“He’s very impressive, very professional. He’s going to open some eyes next year I think, and we’re looking forward to getting some more testing under his belt, getting him out in traffic.
“He’s one of those guys that you know he’s going to do a good job in practice and qualifying, but if you’ve seen him race, you know he does a great job there as well.”
Simmons said the test was used to trial a new set-up direction with the aim of improving the team’s pace on road courses, which he admitted was Ganassi’s weak point in 2018.
“We tried some new directions set-up wise that we’d been tending towards near the end of the season, and tried last year’s set-up again, and we liked where we’re heading,” he said.
“It was a pretty big set-up difference from what we ran at Barber this year, although ironically that was our best road course qualifying until [the season finale at] Sonoma.
“But I think road course qualifying was our Achilles’ heel last year.
“Our race pace was pretty good on road courses, but interestingly I think this new set-up direction will have some potential for improving race pace.”
Simmons added Dixon, who attended the test not long after landing from New Zealand, was “a bit tired, [and had] a little jet-lag going on” towards the end of the run but said he was still “as hungry as anyone here to go out and try and win more races and more championships”.