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Published: Sun, May 07, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Auto racing: Alonso passes first 500 exam

Auto racing: Alonso passes first 500 exam

His papaya orange machine hit both birds on opposite sides, the puff of flying feathers unmistakable in an otherwise smooth day in which Alonso passed his rookie orientation test easily for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28.

"My first time in an Indy vehicle was fun", he said following the test.

Fernando Alonso of Spain talks about practicing for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

Turns out, it might not matter that Formula One driver Fernando Alonso has never raced in IndyCar before.

"Definitely it felt new to me and it felt a little bit, yeah, strange, driving anti-clockwise and at those speeds", Alonso said.

"It's a little bit gusty now, and the wind picked up in the last couple of runs, but it's good information to have some difficulties out there", said Alonso.

"It was very different".

"The feeling in the simulator is quite realistic and you have the first impression of how it's going to be, but the real auto is just a unique feeling", Alonso said. "With 40 laps in the pocket you're able to fine-tune a little bit the lines, and the upshift and downshift, which gear to use in which corner, etc".

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While everything seemed everything fine on the car-testing front, Alonso did encounter a freaky incident during testing as he ended up killing two birds that were on the track.

The Formula 1 double World Champion covered 110 laps of the hallowed Speedway as he prepares for his Indianapolis 500 debut.

"He's getting the feel of it", IndyCar legend Mario Andretti said.

"At this place understeer's not good either, so you just need to make sure it's stuck so he can get confidence". "He's the real deal".

The 35-year-old has endured a miserable run of results since rejoining McLaren in 2015 as the once-mighty British team struggle for reliability and performance from its Honda engine.

Edwards said that the next stage for Alonso, following the Rookie and Refresher two hour period on Monday 15 May will be getting the #29 auto running in traffic.

"You don't want to go out there and set the world on fire", Rutherford added.

Johnny Rutherford twice won the race in the 70s for McLaren and just like their F1 auto this season they've gone back to the orange livery that Rutherford raced in. I think he'll do really well.

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