PKV RACING HAS BEST QUALIFYING SESSION OF 2007 SEASON JANI TO START FOURTH, GOMMENDY EIGHTH FOR TOMORROW'S HOUSTON GRAND PRIX HOUSTON, TEXAS -- SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2007 -- Round ...
PKV RACING HAS BEST QUALIFYING SESSION OF 2007 SEASON
JANI TO START FOURTH, GOMMENDY EIGHTH FOR TOMORROW'S HOUSTON GRAND PRIX
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2007 -- Round #3 -- 2007 Champ Car World Series season -- PKV Racing had the best qualifying session of the young 2007 Champ Car World Series season as Neel Jani and Tristan Gommendy qualified fourth and eighth respectively for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Houston on the tricky and bumpy 1.7-mile, 10-turn Houston, Texas temporary street circuit.
Jani, who pilots the #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, qualified with a fast lap of 57.753 seconds (104.909 mph) placing him on the outside of Row #2. Gommendy, behind the wheel of the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car, recorded a fast time of 58.026 seconds (104.416) and will start on the outside of Row #4. Both starting positions are season highs for the team's rookie drivers.
Jani, who began the day seventh following Friday's provisional qualifying with a time of 59.354 seconds (102.079 mph), improved his grid position by three spots in final qualifying. However, things look far from promising during today's morning practice when Jani recorded the tenth fastest time turning a quick lap of 59.239 seconds (102.277 mph). The matter was still in doubt during the 15-minute afternoon pre-qualifying practice/warm-up when the 23 year-old native of Rorschach, Switzerland posted the ninth fastest lap of the session clocking a time of 58.529 seconds (103.518 mph) although his was third once his car was parked. However, in qualifying the hard work that the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing team had put in paid off. Jani ran the standard two stints; seven laps the first time out and six the second, for a total of 13 laps. His fast time came during the first segment on lap six.
"The Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Team is definitely getting close with our street course setup," Jani said. "We improved the car a lot from yesterday to today and improved it more from this morning to this afternoon. I think we now know which direction we have to go for a competitive street course car, but we are still not 100% there yet," he noted. Jani concluded by saying, "I am also getting more used to street circuits and that is helping some too, so hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow."
Gommendy was 14th on the grid following yesterday's provisional qualifying with a quick time of 60.348 seconds (100.398 mph), but picked up six places today. In this morning's practice, the 27-year-old Frenchman, like his teammate, looked to be in a bit of trouble. He posted the 11th quickest lap of the session posting a time of 59.252 seconds (102.255 mph). However, the Pay By Touch MegaSpirea Team got things headed in the right direction during the 15-minute afternoon warm-up as Gommendy clocked the fifth fastest lap notching a time of 58.387 seconds (103.770 mph), which put him fifth on both the individual and combined practice reports. Gommendy also ran a two stint qualifying and like his teammate posted his fast lap during the first stint.
"Overall it was a good qualifying session for the Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Team," said Gommendy. "This is our best starting position of the season so far. We made up some spots on the grid from yesterday and the car is good, but I am a little disappointed that we did not do better. I had some problems toward the end of my second stint, so I didn't get everything out of the car. I think we had a top-five car for sure, but unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. But, I think we can have a good race starting eighth."
PKV Racing will be making their third and fourth starts while contesting their second Grand Prix of Houston. PKV Racing drivers have now qualified in the top-10 three times in four attempts. The fourth place starting spot earned by Jani today is a team high. The team has a best finish of 12th, by Servia last year.