Takuma Sato has topped the IndyCar timesheets at the Sebring pre-season test

Takuma Sato has topped the timesheets on his maiden outing for the AJ Foyt Enterprises team at the IndyCar Series test session at Sebring on Tuesday.

The ex-Formula 1 driver joined the team after a year with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, and managed to out-pace Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) by 0.07 seconds, with Honda claiming a 1-2 on the timesheets as the field readies itself for the opening race of the 2013 championship season at St Petersburg next month.

Last year’s championship runner-up Will Power was the fastest Chevrolet-powered runner, taking his Team Penske entry third-quickest, edging out former champion Dario Franchitti.

Justin Wilson was fifth-quickest driving for Dale Coyne Racing, despite neither party having yet officially confirmed the Englishman’s future for the upcoming season.

Hot on his heels were Brazil’s IndyCar stalwarts Tony Kanaan (KV Racing) and Hélio Castroneves (Penske), who narrowly beat Graham Rahal – making his full-time debut for his father Graham’s team – on the timing screens.

Allmendinger was twelfth-fastest on his return to an open-wheel racerNinth-fastest was Rahal’s former Chip Ganassi team-mate Charlie Kimball, while Simona de Silvestro enjoyed her first outing in a decent-powered car to be tenth-fastest, less than half a second off Sato’s leading pace.

In the thirteen-driver field, Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Racing), AJ Allmendinger – making his return to open-wheel driving with Team Penske – and Oriol Servià (Panther / DRR) completed the runners.

2013 Sebring Pre-Season Test – Tuesday Session Times:

  Driver Entrant Fastest Time
1. Takuma Sato JPN AJ Foyt Enterprises Honda Honda 51.947
2. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Honda + 0.070
3. Will Power AUS Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet + 0.206
4. Dario Franchitti GBR Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Honda + 0.375
5. Justin Wilson GBR Dale Coyne Racing Honda Honda + 0.380
6. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Chevrolet + 0.434
7. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet + 0.463
8. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda Honda + 0.446
9. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Honda + 0.492
10. Simona de Silvestro SUI KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Chevrolet + 0.495
11. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda Honda + 0.551
12. AJ Allmendinger USA Team Penske Chevrolet Chevrolet + 0.671
13. Oriol Servià ESP Panther / Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet Chevrolet + 0.743

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Richard Bailey

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