CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Rocketsports Racing Friday report

Portland, Oregon (June 16, 2006) - Rocketsports Racing entered two-cars this weekend for the first time in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. Tonis Kasemets joined Nicky Pastorelli today as they...

Portland, Oregon (June 16, 2006) - Rocketsports Racing entered two-cars this weekend for the first time in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. Tonis Kasemets joined Nicky Pastorelli today as they prepare for Round Five at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon.

This morning started with a one-hour-and-fifteen-minute practice session, which marked the first time that Kasemets would pilot a Champ Car with the rest of the field. He and the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports crew used yesterday as a test day, running two-sessions throughout the day on Thursday for him to get acquainted to the car and team before beginning preparations to make his Champ Car debut on Sunday in the G.I. Joe's Presents The Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland.

Kasemets ran 34 laps during the morning session and posted his quickest time of 1:01.060 (115.794 mph) on his 19th lap around the 1.969-mile permanent road course. Teammate Pastorelli completed 21 laps during the session, running his best lap on his ninth orbit in a time of 1:00.817 (116.257 mph).

Portland is known for its unpredictable weather, as it poured rain for a few minutes in the afternoon just before the provisional qualifying session. Changing track conditions took a little bit for the drivers to get used to, and Kasemets and Pastorelli did their best while continuing to search for a good set-up at this circuit.

Pastorelli ran a time of 1:00.333 (117.190 mph) in the afternoon. He did improve on his time from the morning session, but it was not a big enough improvement to make him and the team happy. Unlike Pastorelli, who is attempting to make his four th Champ Car start this weekend, Kasemets is completely new at this. Knowing the track well from his victorious run here last year while competing in the Atlantic Series, the Estonian driver is not as familiar with a Champ Car as he is with the road course. It is definitely a learning experience for the new driver, but he is full of excitement and determination, and today is just the start of great things to come from this new driver. Kasemets ran his fastest time during the provisional qualifying session on his sixth lap out posting a time of 1:01.089 (115.739 mph).

The team and its drivers have one more practice session before final qualifying takes place tomorrow afternoon at 1:45 p.m. local time, which will determine the starting line-up for Sunday's race, Round Five of the Champ Car World Series 2006 schedule.

Quotes

Nicky Pastorelli #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone
"We are obviously not happy with our results today. I think we can definitely improve tomorrow, because I do not think that we got the maximum out of the car this afternoon. I was blocked twice during the qualifying session and never got in the one fast lap that you really need because I believe we would have posted a quicker time. Our main issue is that we still have to find a good balance to the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car. We will work hard tonight, and go back out there tomorrow to try to make up the speed we were lacking today."

Tonis Kasemets #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone
"Well today was very exciting being my first time out in a Champ Car with all the competition. We have all four corners of the car in tact, so it was a good day in the terms of it being incident free. I am still learning the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone ca r and I know that there is more to gain with me driving it. We will work hard tonight to make more adjustments/improvements on the car and my driving performance with the goal tomorrow to improve our position on the timing and scoring charts."

-rsr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tonis Kasemets , Nicky Pastorelli