Bourdais Opens Detroit Weekend on Top

Sebastien Bourdais chased by Alexander Rossi in Detroit
Sebastien Bourdais and Alexander Rossi landed in the top five to begin the 2018 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit weekend. | Photo: Gannon Burgett / The Apex

Sebastien Bourdais led a group of veterans atop the timesheet for Friday morning’s first practice session of the doubleheader weekend at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

Completing a lap of the 2.35-mile temporary street circuit in 1:17.8545, Bourdais made himself and his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda fastest ahead of Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti.

That veteran-packed top five was split by less than half a second and followed immediately by Santino Ferrucci, driving alongside Bourdais at Coyne this weekend to make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut.

Santino Ferrucci racing Indy car around Detroit Belle Isle circuit
While the whole 23-car field was split by nearly four seconds, Formula 2 competitor Santino Ferrucci was only 0.4572 seconds off his teammate’s pace in his first IndyCar session. | Photo: Gannon Burgett / The Apex

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach joined their Andretti Autosport teammates Rossi and Andretti in the top 10 as they placed seventh and eighth in Practice 1, 0.4821 and 0.4984 seconds back from Bourdais, respectively.

Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan set the ninth- and 10th-fastest laps and were the only two Chevrolet drivers in the top 10.

Juncos Racing driver Rene Binder nosed the team’s No. 32 Chevrolet into the Turn 11 tire barrier late in the session to bring out the first of two red flags. The second red flag appeared when Robert Wickens, also making his first start on Belle Isle this weekend, ran off at Turn 7.

The practice was scheduled to last for 45 minutes, but Wickens’ incident occurred as the clock was winding down, prompting INDYCAR to allow drivers to complete one extra green-flag lap despite the session ending as cars peeled out of pit lane.

After completing a combined 350 laps in this first practice, the IndyCar field will return to the track at 3:10–3:55 p.m. EDT on Friday for Practice 2.

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