CHAMPCAR/CART: Assen: PKV Racing preview

PKV RACING'SNEEL JANI VYING FOR TOP-FIVE POSITION IN CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS TEAMMATE TRISTAN GOMMENDY LOOKING TO CLOSE GAP TO 10TH PLACE INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - AUGUST 28, 2007 - - PKV Racing driver Neel Jani will be trying to regain his ...

PKV RACING'SNEEL JANI VYING FOR TOP-FIVE POSITION IN CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

TEAMMATE TRISTAN GOMMENDY LOOKING TO CLOSE GAP TO 10TH PLACE

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - AUGUST 28, 2007 - - PKV Racing driver Neel Jani will be trying to regain his position in the top-five in the championship standings while teammate Tristan Gommendy will attempt to close the gap to 10th in the points this weekend at the inaugural Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix at TT Circuit Assen in Assen, Holland.

Jani, #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, who is coming off an eighth place finish last weekend in Belgium is working on a streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes. He has been as high as fifth in the standings and is currently seventh in the championship standings with 182 points, just 14 points out of fifth and 39 out of third. Jani is third in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race.

The 23-year-old native of Jens, Switzerland has finished in the top-10 nine times in the 11 races this season with three podiums. The three podium performances, season high seconds in Toronto and San Jose, where he led his first Champ Car laps, plus a third in Cleveland, established a single season team record for most by an individual driver and tied the record for the most by the team in a season. In addition to the three podiums and the eighth in Belgium, Jani has finished sixth in Mont-Tremblant, seventh at Long Beach, ninth at Edmonton and 10th at Road America and Las Vegas. At Long Beach, fueling problems, Las Vegas, mechanical failure, Houston, knocked out of the race while running fourth and Road America, sixth when forced to pit for a splash of fuel, Jani was in contention for top-five finishes. Only in Portland, where he finished 12th has he been out of contention. Jani has qualified in the top-10 nine times in 11 attempts, with a season best starting position of fourth in Houston. His other top-10 qualifying spots include fifth's in Edmonton and San Jose, sixth in Mont-Tremblant, seventh at Road America, ninths in Las Vegas and here in Zolder, plus 10ths in Toronto and Portland (11th in Cleveland and Long Beach). Jani is third in laps completed (854 out of a possible 893) and miles completed (1816.569 out of a possible 1891.571). He is ninth in laps led with 30. Jani, whose father hails from India, began his open wheel racing career in Europe before joining Champ Car this season. He has been a member of the Red Bull driver development program since 2005 and was a test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One Team in 2006.

"The Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing team has had some good results this year and we are in contention for a place in the top-five in the standings, but we are not where we want to be," Jani said. "We definitely have improved the car since the beginning of the season, but we need to make it even better if we are going to make a run at the top-three in the championship standings. I am confident we can do that, but we have to start with a good qualifying effort and race this weekend in Holland."

Gommendy, #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car, had a streak of two consecutive top-10 finishes, that had appeared to end the run of bad luck he experienced during the middle of the season, halted when debris from the track caused an oil leak ending his Belgium Champ Car Grand Prix with a 16th place finish. The 27-year-old a resident of Paris, France is 12th in the standings with 117 points, 48 out of 10th place. He is fifth in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race.

Gommendy has finished in the top-10 four times this year with a best showing of fifth in his Champ Car debut at Las Vegas. In addition to the fifth place performance in Vegas, Gommendy's other top-10 finishes included sevenths in Portland and at Road America plus an eighth in San Jose. At both Long Beach and Houston, he engaged in spirited battles for the lead with three-time Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais before making late race stops for fuel. Gommendy has qualified in the top-10 five times in ten attempts (did not qualify in Edmonton due to injury) this year with one pole. The pole, which came in Mont-Tremblant, is just the second in PKV Racing history and the first on a road course. It also made him the third Champ Car rookie to capture a pole since 2001. His other top-10 starting positions area a fifth in Portland, an eighth in Houston and San Jose plus a ninth in Long Beach. Gommendy is eighth in laps led, 31, and 12th in laps completed (647) and miles (1410.136) completed. Like his teammate, Gommendy is a veteran of European open wheel racing who joined Champ Car this season. He won the 2002 Formula 3 France championship and the prestigious Formula 3 Macau GP race also in 2002.

"The Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing team had a difficult race in Belgium," Gommendy noted. "We have had some things not go our way this season, but that is racing. We have to do a better job in qualifying and I think things will get better for us in the races. Everyone is still working very hard, so I am still very confident," he said.

-credit: pkv

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sébastien Bourdais , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy
Teams Toro Rosso