PIZZONIA SITS 8TH QUICKEST DURING FIRST ROUND OF QUALIFYING IN MONTREAL WHILE PASTORELLI STRUGGLES MONTREAL, Canada (August 25, 2006) -- Track experience seems to be key here in Montreal as Antonio Pizzonia sits in the eighth spot ...
PIZZONIA SITS 8TH QUICKEST DURING FIRST ROUND OF QUALIFYING IN MONTREAL WHILE PASTORELLI STRUGGLES
MONTREAL, Canada (August 25, 2006) -- Track experience seems to be key here in Montreal as Antonio Pizzonia sits in the eighth spot after provisional qualifying while his teammate Nicky Pastorelli struggles to find a car that can help him excel on speed.
This morning was the first run for the two Champ Car rookies. Despite being of rookie status in a Champ Car, Pizzonia is no rookie to the 2.709-mile permanent road course at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. His past experience comes from running in Formula One, but despite that fact on his resume, he still had to get used to driving a Champ Car on this circuit. Pastorelli was a test driver in Formula One, but did not have the chance to run this circuit so he comes here completely green to the racetrack.
The morning did not offer much time to get used to the track. After running for about 30-minutes of green flag time, Pizzonia would be the first to cause a red flag. He was still learning the shifting mechanism of a Champ Car and spun in Turn Eight. He stalled in the gravel and Champ Car Safety had to go out and get him. The Brazilian had to serve an eight-minute penalty for causing a stop to the session, which ultimately hurt his run for the rest of the morning. With the addition of two other red flags, he did not get many more laps in for practice after his incident.
Pastorelli seemed to be on the right track and off to a good start in the morning. Taking to a road course track with ease, he maneuvered his way around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time and recorded a time that saw him sitting in the 14th spot as the fourth best rookie.
The afternoon held the first round of qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix de Montreal. Pizzonia was confident that more time in the car and better track conditions would improve his overall time. That is exactly what happened, as he posted his fastest lap of 1:22.767 (117.830 mph) on his tenth lap of provisional qualifying. That time was good enough to stick him in the eighth spot on the provisional grid.
Pastorelli's good morning run failed to continue in the afternoon and he struggled with different problems with the car. The Italo-Dutch driver was able to improve his time slightly in the afternoon, but not enough to make him or the team happy. He posted his best time of the day with a 1:24.204 (115.819 mph) and sits 16th on the charts after day one in Montreal.
Notes Antonio Pizzonia #18 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone
"I am happy to be back in the Champ Car. It is taking a little time to get used to driving it again and driving a racecar overall because Long Beach was the last time I was in a racecar. Therefore, I know that there is more to come from me and the #18 Rocketsports car. It is interesting driving here in a Champ Car. It was three years ago when I drove here in a Formula One car, but I can immediately see differences between the two cars. It is a completely different driving line, so I have to attack the track in a different way than what I know. So that is something else I have to get used to, along with braking and reading the marks on the track. Overall, I am happy to have finished 8th today in provisional qualifying, we are on the right track and I expect we can do even better tomorrow."
Nicky Pastorelli #8 Curacao/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone
"This morning we started out good and I was able to learn the track pretty quickly to feel comfortable. This afternoon we started having some problems and things started to go in the wrong direction. We will work on improving the car and solving those issues tonight and I feel that we can go out tomorrow and have an even better day."