CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: PKV Racing Friday report

PKV RACING'S TRISTAN GOMMENDY PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES SEVENTH FOR SUNDAY'S TOYOTA GRAND PRIX LONG BEACH JANI 16TH ON PROVISIONAL GRID LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2007 -- Round ...

PKV RACING'S TRISTAN GOMMENDY PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES SEVENTH FOR SUNDAY'S TOYOTA GRAND PRIX LONG BEACH

JANI 16TH ON PROVISIONAL GRID

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2007 -- Round #2 -- 2007 Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Tristan Gommendy qualified seventh while teammate Neel Jani is 16th on the provisional grid for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. .

Gommendy, who pilots the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine qualified with a fast lap of 68.823 seconds (102.942 mph) on the challenging 1.968-mile, 11-turn downtown Long Beach temporary street circuit. Jani, behind the wheel of the #21 Red Bull Gulfsteam PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, qualified with a quick lap of 69.991 seconds (101.224 mph)

Gommendy, who finished fifth in his Champ Car debut five days ago in Las Vegas was 10th on the speed charts following this morning's practice posting a fast time of 70.139 seconds (101.011mph). In the 15-minute afternoon practice/warm-up prior to qualifying, he made a significant jump turning a lap of 69.051 seconds (102.602), which placed him fourth on both the individual and combined practice reports. However, in qualifying Gommendy ran into problems from the start. The Red Bull Gulstream PKV Racing crew had to change an electrical unit before Gommendy ever went on track and when he did he only ran one lap before returning to the pits for further repairs. Going out for his first full stint with 15:50 remaining in the 30-minute session, Gommendy ran six laps notching a fast time of 69.238 seconds on his fifth circuit which temporarily placed him ninth on the speed charts. Taking to the track for his second stint with 7:40 left, Gommendy was just getting his tires up to temperature when a red flag brought a halt to on-track action. With just 2:50 on the clock the talented Frenchman charged out of the pits, ran one warm-up lap then two timed laps recording his fast time on his 11th and final lap.

"We had an electrical problem with the gearbox on the The Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing car at the begging of the session, so we lost a lot of time during qualifying," Gommendy explained. "I am pretty sure that we would have been three or four tenths quicker if we had one more lap. But, the car was good. We did a good job in morning practice and during the afternoon warm-up we were fourth. I think the level of the car is about 68.5 or 68.4, but that level is not mine for the moment. The main problem right now is the driver. I learned that I was not quick enough on new tires. Once the driver knows the track and knows the car we will do better because the car is good," he said.

Jani recorded the ninth fastest lap of the morning practice posting a quick time of 69.985 seconds (101.233 mph). However during the 15-minute warm-up, he began experiencing problems with the car and dropped to 15th on the speed charts with a time of 70.411 seconds (100.621 mph). In qualifying, the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Team ran the standard two stints. Jani began his first segment with 27:30 left in the session. He notched a time of 70.500 seconds on the fourth of his seven laps, which placed him seventh when as he reentered the pits. Jani's second stint began with just 12 minutes remaining. He ran six more laps when the red flag came out. Jani turned his fast lap of the day on the 12th of his total of 13 laps.

"This was a very disappointing qualifying session for the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Team," Jani said. "We had some issues with the car, which made things very difficult. However, there is still another practice and qualifying session tomorrow and I am confident that we can have a good day and move up the grid."

-credit: pkv

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Series INDYCAR