Dutchman Bobby D. enters Indy Racing series in spectacualr way
Robert Doornbos a.k.a. Bobby D., former F1 and Champ car series driver will this season enter as a rookie in the American Indy Racing series. Doornbos returns to the United States following a 2007 campaign in the Champ Car World Series that saw him record five podium finishes in his first six starts en route to third overall in the championship. In 2009 he joins Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, an operation that recorded two victories in its first full season in the IndyCar Series in 2008.
“When I made the move from Formula One to Champ Car in 2007, I had no knowledge of circuits, tires, drivers, engine, whatever of that series, and I had five podiums out of the first six races, so that was a motivation boost,” Doornbos said. “I think my attitude is the same for the IndyCar Series. The team contacted me because they know what I can do, and I’m here to do the best job I can. Of course I have respect for the ovals, there’s still a steep learning curve, but nothing to be worried about. The team is very strong, great results. I feel at home already.”
Reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon paced the first day of an IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. Dixon recorded a best lap of 1 minute, 10.5005 seconds, 117.446 mph, on the 15-turn, 2.38-mile circuit. Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing rookie Robert Doornbos was second with a lap of 1:10.6341 while Andretti Green Racing’s Tony Kanaan was third (1:10.66.21). Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Dario Franchitti, was fourth and Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe was fifth.
“I was very happy to drive on a circuit that I am familiar with, where I can use my experience in setting the car up to my liking and getting to know the team better, because it’s a whole new adventure for me. This morning we did only 10 laps and the gearbox broke, so we had to wait a couple of hours to get it fixed. We just had to stay focused for the afternoon and make the most of it. We had a good setup and we got the car to my liking and did a quick lap time. I think it’s very important to make a good first impression, because the team gave me this chance. They know what I can do. They know that I can win races, and I just need to prove it.”
Robert is one of four rookies entered full time in the IndyCar Series in 2009, joined by Stanton Barrett, Mike Conway and Raphael Matos. All four will be contenders for the $50,000 prize. The battle for Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year honors will play out over 17 races – 10 on ovals and seven on road/street courses. The 2009 winner will join past winners Hideki Mutoh (2008), Marco Andretti (2006), Danica Patrick (2005) and Dan Wheldon (2003).