Alonso smashes ROP, cleared to race Indy 500

In no more than an hour’s time of his first IndyCar test, Fernando Alonso smashed the mandatory Rookie Orientation Programme, leaving his Andretti team very impressed.

42.jpgPhoto : motorsport.com

The Rookie Orientation Programme (ROP) is a mandatory test that rookies to the event must pass in order to be eligible to run at full speed and eventually participate in the Indy 500.

The target for Fernando was to do 10 laps at 205-210 mph, 15 laps at 210-215 mph, and finally 15 laps at 215-220 mph.

Peaking at 219.65 mph, Alonso took 4 runs of a total 51 laps to pass his test within an hour, given oncoming rain was an issue.

“He did exactly what we knew he could do and he did it in grand style”, said Mario Andretti after witnessing Alonso’s efforts on track.

Talking about his experience in the car, Fernando said : “At the beginning, to be honest, the right foot was having its own brain, its own power! It was not connected with my brain. So I wanted to be flat out but the right foot has its own life!

“Right now I’m more in control ¬†with my body and in control with the car, so I’m able to be flat out.”

Asked if he was comfortable in the car, he said : “Not at all! I was getting up to speed, but the circuit looks so narrow when you are at that speed. When you watch on television or you are on the simulator, everything seems bigger and easier but when you are in the real car, it is very very narrow.”

indycar-fernando-alonso-indianapolis-test-2017-fernando-alonso-andretti-autosport-honda.jpgPhoto : motorsport.com

“It was fun”, Alonso concluded, “I think it’s a good way to start to build the speed. It was probably a little bit difficult at the beginning to reach the minimum, but in the next stages I felt good.

“Hopefully we can put some laps now and start feeling the car a little bit because at the moment, the car is driving itself. I’m not driving the car.”

Fernando Alonso was also full of praise for his Andretti Autosport team.

“So far it has been good”, he said, “The team was amazingly helpful. Running alone is quite okay, but we’ll see later over the next weeks.”

Feature image : motorsport.com

– Aditya Bhat.

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