PKV RACING PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES BOTH CARS IN TOP-10 FOR CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF BELGIUM GOMMENDY QUALIFIES SIXTH, JANI EIGHTH ZOLDER, BELGIUM -- FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2007 -- Round ...
PKV RACING PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES BOTH CARS IN TOP-10 FOR CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF BELGIUM
GOMMENDY QUALIFIES SIXTH, JANI EIGHTH
ZOLDER, BELGIUM -- FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2007 -- Round #11 -- 2007 Champ Car World Series season -- PKV Racing provisionally qualified both cars in the top-10 for Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium in Zolder, Belgium.
Tristan Gommendy, #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car, qualified sixth with a fast lap of 74.590 seconds (120.273 mph) on the challenging 2.622-mile, 12-turn Circuit Zolder permanent road course. Jani, #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, had a qualifying time of 74.823 seconds (119.8991 mph)
Gommendy's day began with problems, but ended with him solidly toward the front of the grid. In morning practice, Gommendy experienced a oil leak just five laps, the fewest of any driver, into the session, but still managed to record the ninth fastest lap of the session posting a time of 76.389 seconds (117.441 mph). In the 15-minute afternoon practice/warm-up, he again found his track time limited running just three laps with a fast time of 76.657seconds (117.030 mph), good for 13th on the practice report. During qualifying things continued to go a bit sideways. The team planned to began its first stint with 20 minutes remaining in the 30-minute session, but just as the crew fired the engine a red flag came out. With precious minutes ticking away the decision was made to shorten the length of each of the two stints, both of which were made on the primary (black) Bridgestone tires. Gommendy took to the track for his first qualifying run with 15:30 remaining, but once again fate intervened with a second red flag after just three laps. At that point, Gommendy sat 12th on the grid with a fast lap of 76.019 seconds (118.013 mph). His second stint began with 6:30 remaining and consisted of five laps with Gommendy clocking his fast time on his eighth and final lap.
"It was a difficult qualification for the Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing team because we decided to go out for the first stint a little bit later," Gommendy began. "Just as we were about to start the first run there was a red flag. With so little time left we had to do a short run with the first set of tires. I used that run to learn the track a little more because I only ran five laps in morning practice and three during the warm-up. My breaking points weren't very good and I was touching in the front with the first set of tires, so it was impossible to brake late. Then on the second set of tires I made a mistake on the last lap otherwise we would have been .4 quicker," he explained. "But, I think we can do good things this weekend. The car is not bad right now. We are in a good place, definitely."
Jani, who ran the most laps during the morning practice (18), was sixth on the speed charts for the session posting a quick lap of 75.933 seconds (118.146 mph). During the 15-minute afternoon practice/warm-up, he notched the eighth fastest lap clocking a time of 75.779 seconds (118.386 mph). For qualifying, Jani was scheduled to ran the usual two stints. However, because of the red flags and the limited time his first stint was interrupted twice forcing the team to shorten each stint from six to four laps. Jani first run, on the primary Bridgestone tire, concluded with a fast lap of 75.526 seconds (118.703 mph) good for seventh place. His second stint, again of four laps and again on the "black" tires, concluded with his fast time coming on the final lap.
Commenting on his qualifying effort Jani said, "On the first set of tires I caught a red flag. Then we went back on the same set of tires and caught a red flag. On the new tires (second stint) I had three good laps, but on my quick lap and my last lap I ran into some traffic, so I lost a little bit of time. I think the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing car could have been a bit quicker. I am suffering from some understeer, so we have to fix that for tomorrow."
Gommendy, a veteran of European open wheel racing, is making his second appearance at Circuit Zolder having competed here in 2004 in the Formula Nissan World Series placing second. The personable 27-year-old Frenchman, who is coming off back-to-back top-10 showings, currently sits 12th in the championship standings and fifth in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race with 112 points. He is 26 points out of tenth place.
Jani, also a veteran of the European open wheel racing scene, is also making his second appearance at Zolder having competed here in 2001 in the Formula Renault 2000 EuroCup Series. The talented and determined 23-year-old native of Jens, Switzerland has been on a tremendous run over the last six races. Jani has finished in the top-10 six consecutive times with three podium performances and currently sits seventh in the standings, third in the rookie of the year race, with 167 points. He is three points out of fifth and 30 out of third in the championship race.