CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: PKV Racing preview

PKV RACING LOOKING FOR SOLID RESUL ON MONTREAL PERMANENT ROAD CIRCUIT INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - AUGUST 26, 2005 - - PKV Racing, will be looking for another strong performance on a permanent road course as the Champ Car World Series returns to...

PKV RACING LOOKING FOR SOLID RESUL ON MONTREAL PERMANENT ROAD CIRCUIT

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - AUGUST 26, 2005 - - PKV Racing, will be looking for another strong performance on a permanent road course as the Champ Car World Series returns to action this weekend for the Molson Indy Montreal on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The team, which is enjoying the best season in its two-plus year history, scored its best combined finish ever earlier this year in Portland the only other permanent road course contested so far this year. At Portland, Cristiano da Matta, behind the wheel of the #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry, drove to the victory scoring the first win in team history and Jimmy Vasser, who pilots the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, finished sixth.

Da Matta, who opened the season with three top-10 finishes in the first four races, including the win in Portland, has had a couple of strange incidents with rookies, a mechanical failure, made contact with the treacherous Turn #4 wall in San Jose (although he still finished 10th) and had a opening lap incident that knocked him from the race in Denver in his last five events.

Da Matta, who has been as high as fifth in the points following the win in Portland, has finished in the top-10 in four of the nine races contested this year. The talented 31-year-old Brazilian has qualified in the top-10 in eight of the nine events this year missing out only in San Jose. His best starting position is second in Cleveland followed by a fourth in Milwaukee and a fifth in Edmonton. Da Matta is third in laps led with 59. The 2002 Series Champion currently sits 11th in the standings with 102 points.

"PKV Racing's engineering staff is doing a great job and as the team evolves it is acquiring the data base that will be a valuable asset for the future," da Matta said. "We have been fast on some circuits, like Milwaukee, Portland and Cleveland," he noted. "Looking at the rest of the schedule this season I think that we can compete at a very high level at all the events especially at Montreal, Korea and Mexico City. If Milwaukee is any indication we should also be strong at Las Vegas and I love the Australia street circuit, so we should be good there. I believe the team can put together a string of good results over the final five races of the season," da Matta concluded.

Da Matta, who is contesting his fifth Champ Car season, will be making his 89th career Champ Car and second in Montreal this weekend. The resident of Miami, FL, who spent the last two seasons competing in Formula 1, captured the pole at the inaugural Montreal event in 2002 and finished second.

Vasser has had a solid season to date. He has finished in the top-10 in five of the eight races this year with two top-five showings, a season high fourth in Toronto and a fifth in Milwaukee. Vasser has qualified in the top-10 in eight consecutive races and eight of the nine events this year including taking the first pole in PKV Racing history, at Milwaukee. He is fifth in laps completed with 849 (out of a total of 938) and eighth in laps led with 27. The 1996 Series Champion is currently tied for seventh in the championship race with 131points.

In the last three events Vasser has demonstrated the determination and professionalism that have made him both a champion and a fan favorite. In all three events, the highly regarded 39-year-old Californian, has had to overcome problems that would sent most drivers to the sidelines, but only seemed to fuel his competitive nature. In two of the three events Vasser had to pit repeatedly to have repairs made to his car, but continued to battle until the end earning valuable championship points.

"The last couple of races have been tough, but the Gulfstream/PKV Racing team battled back and earned some championship points," Vasser said. "This team is about working hard. We are a young team, but we have a lot of talented and experienced people. That is really important when, as happens in racing, things don't go 100% your way," he explained. "I am proud of the effort the PKV Racing team has put forth this season and particularly the last few races. To fight and battle back the way we have is good for us. It will help us in the future when we are fighting for championships. Also, you never know--those points we scored in the last three races could make a big difference at the end of the season," Vasser noted.

Vasser, who is in his 14th Champ Car season, will be making his 228th career and record 207th consecutive Champ Car start this weekend. He has finished 141 of his last 183 races and placed in the top-10 in 128 of his 227 events including 64 top-five showings. The resident of Las Vegas, NV will also be making his fourth start in Montreal. He has qualified in the top-10 twice with a best starting position of sixth (2002) and finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of fifth also in 2002.

"I am looking forward to racing this weekend in Montreal," Vasser said. "I think we should have a strong setup for this circuit and I believe we can qualify well and start at the sharp end of the grid," he noted. "That is always the best way to have the best chance at a good finish," he concluded.

PKV Racing will be making its fourth and fifth starts while competing in its third race in Montreal. In three previous starts (two races) the team has a best qualifying position of 11th by Vasser in 2004. They have finished in the top-10 all three times with a best finish of eighth also by Vasser in 2004 (Papis, ninth in 2003 and Gonzalez, 10th in 2004).

The Molson Indy Montreal, August 26-28, at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, will be televised live on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m. (ET).

-pkv-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Cristiano da Matta