DAY ONE IN EDMONTON: A WORK IN PROGRESS FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 21, 2006) -- Rocketsports Racing rookies are learning the ropes of driving a Champ Car on the 1.073-mile temporary road course of Finning...
DAY ONE IN EDMONTON: A WORK IN PROGRESS FOR ROCKETSPORTS RACING
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada (July 21, 2006) -- Rocketsports Racing rookies are learning the ropes of driving a Champ Car on the 1.073-mile temporary road course of Finning International Speedway in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as today was their first time on-track in preparation for Sunday's race.
Driver of the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, Tonis Kasemets, has track experience after running year last year in a Toyota Atlantic car, but ventured out today for the first time in a Champ Car. His teammate Nicky Pastorelli, who pilots the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, is making his debut in Canada and lacks the track layout knowledge that Kasemets has to his advantage.
Pastorelli was looking to get as much on-track time this morning to learn the course and prepare for the first round of qualifying this afternoon. A dirty and bumpy track was unforgiving to the Champ Car rookie, as he lost the car after running eight laps and made contact with the wall in Turn One. There was some damage done to the car, mainly on the left rear suspension, and his session ended early.
The Rocketsports crew on the #8 car did a great job repairing the car in a timely manner and the Italo-Dutch driver's car was ready to go this afternoon for provisional qualifying. Only getting eight laps in the morning affected the 23-year-old driver's ability to adapt to the new track, which made it hard for him to have a real good run this afternoon, in addition to red flags that occurred during the second session of the day.
Pastorelli ran his fastest time during the afternoon session when he posted a 1:01.760 (115.006 mph) and sits 15th on the charts. Though this is not where he and the #8 team would like to be sitting on the Champ Car timing and scoring sheet, he is optimistic that tomorrow is going to be a better day.
Kasemets' day was not much better than his stablemate's as he struggled on-track while trying to find a good setup for the #18 car that best suits his driving style. The Estonian ran his best lap of 1:02.755 (111.032 mph) in the afternoon, which has him sitting 16th on the provisional grid.
Nicky Pastorelli #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "Today was good, considering the start we had. I made a mistake during the morning practice session, which resulted in a crash. It was a shame because I was only able to get in eight laps and since this is my first time at this venue, I needed every minute on-track this morning. So that made it a little difficult to head into provisional qualifying, but I made the most of it. We improved every time we went out onto the track today. We could have ran better times this afternoon, the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports car is capable of doing so, but I made a few slips trying to push the car as hard as I could. I think we will be in good shape for tomorrow."
Tonis Kasemets #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "It is great to be back in Edmonton. The track is in good condition and the fans were out here in the masses supporting us. However, the provisional qualifying session did not go as well as we were hoping. I will continue to working with my engineers in hopes of making some improvements on the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports car for tomorrow and hopefully we will have a better result in tomorrow's final qualifying."