Pagenaud Qualifies Car at Infineon Raceway as HVM Works to "Free Simona"
August 27, 2011 - Sonoma, CA - During an unusual race weekend at Infineon Raceway, HVM Racing and replacement driver, Simon Pagenaud, have worked together to improve with each track session. With an unexpected situation and a driver who hasn't raced at the track before, it's a work in progress.
HVM Racing enlisted the help of the French driver after receiving word that Simona De Silvestro experienced issues with CBP (Customs & Border Protection) during her return travels from her home country of Switzerland. Pagenaud agreed to drive for the team on a day-to-day basis until HVM could rectify the situation. Lawyers and U.S. government officials continue to work on the issues, however it appears that De Silvestro will not return in time to compete in Sunday's race.
The No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car ran in the second qualifying group on Saturday afternoon. Pagenaud's attempt was an improvement over the previous track sessions, but not enough to move on to the next round of qualifying. The team will start in P22 for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
"First, I want to thank HVM and Entergy Nuclear for this opportunity," said Pagenaud after the qualifying session. "The balance of the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car was really good and I'm pretty happy with where we ended up. In practice this morning, we seemed to have a little issue with the car coming out of the corner. It just wouldn't go forward, but we need to look at the data and understand what happened. The race is going to be tough from the back, but hopefully we can use strategy to gain some positions."