Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Solid Test Has KV Racing Technology – Lotus Drivers Optimistic About Mid-Ohio Race
Following a solid test day at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28, KV Racing Technology – Lotus drivers Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato and E. J. Viso are all optimistic about their chances at this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 on the picturesque and challenging 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road course in Lexington, Ohio
Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, is having his best season in three years (finished sixth in the final standings in 2009 and 2010). The perennial championship contender is currently fourth in the standings with 253 points, just 29 out of third. Kanaan is coming off a very strong performance in Edmonton. After qualifying 11th, he drove a smart, patient race and steadily moved through the field to finish fourth. Kanaan will be making his 10th appearance at Mid-Ohio. In nine previous races (five in CART and four in IndyCar) he has qualified in the top-10 six times with a best starting position of third in 2007 and finished in the top-10 five times with a best showing of fourth also in 2007.
"We had a good test with all three cars at Mid-Ohio last week and it's always nice to go into the weekend with the track fresh in your mind,” said Kanaan. “Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite racetracks, it has a very cool layout and I love the way the fans show up for the race. You know, I lived in Columbus, OH in the early days of my career when I raced for Tasman and Steve Horne so I've been there quite a few times since the CART days. I'm still looking for a victory there so this might be the right time for it."
In 11 races this season (Texas two starts), Kanaan has finished in the top-10 seven times with five top-five showings and two podiums (second at Iowa and third at St. Petersburg). The 36-year-old Brazilian has been extremely competitive on the street/road circuits this season finishing in the top-10 in four of the six races including the podium at St. Petersburg (sixth at Barber, eight in Long Beach, fourth at Edmonton).
Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, who has been in the top-10 in the championship race for much of the season, is currently 16th in the standings with 179 points, 33 out of 10th. The 34-year-old from Japan is coming off an exciting, but disappointing race in Edmonton where he captured his second pole in the last three races and first on a street/road course, then led the first 18 laps (the third time he has led a race this season. However, following an outstanding restart (on lap 29) in which Sato went from seventh to second place, he was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay on lap 38, which spun and stalled Sato’s car. By the time he was restarted and rejoined the contest, Sato was a lap down and out of contention. Sato will be competing at Mid-Ohio for the second time. In his debut last year he qualified a season-high third, but following an incident, finished 25th.
"Last year it was a great experience to have had a very productive test followed by a strong race weekend performance at Mid Ohio,” Sato said. “And I can see the same thing could happen this weekend. Testing is very limited nowadays, so the test last week was very valuable time for us to try many set ups and analyze them. The field will be very tight, but after we had such a productive test, I am confident that we will be competitive this at race."
Sato, who is having a breakout season despite his ranking in the standings, has finished in the top-10 four times this season (IndyCar career-high fifths at St. Petersburg and Texas, eighths at Milwaukee and Brazil). He has earned his first two IndyCar poles (on the oval in Iowa and the street circuit in Edmonton, becoming the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar pole), led his first IndyCar race (at Brazil) and scored his first top-five finishes. Sato, a veteran of seven Formula 1 seasons, has been strong on street and road circuits this year. In addition to the fifth at St. Petersburg, the eighth at Brazil and the pole in Edmonton, he has had strong performances at Barber, Long Beach and Edmonton nullified by incidents.
Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, 20th in the points race with 147, looked to be building on the momentum gained following his best street/road course performance of the season, a ninth place finish at Toronto, when he qualified a season-high fifth at Edmonton. However, an incident during the restart on lap 29 essentially put an end to his race although he did continue to battle to the end picking up valuable championship points. Viso will be contesting his fourth race at Mid-Ohio. He has qualified in the top-10 twice, starting eighth last year and ninth in 2009. His best finish is 15th in 2009.
"KVRT – Lotus just tested at Mid-Ohio which was very beneficial,” Viso said. “We worked as a team during the test, which we have been doing for most of the season and made real progress on different aspects of the car, which I believe will be key for this weekend. It's going to be very warm and humid, so we will be setting up the car to suit these conditions. Last year at Mid-Ohio we had a good qualifying and race, so I hope this year we can be even better."
Viso has finished in the top-10 three times this year. In addition to the ninth place showing in Toronto he finished seventh and 10th in the two races in Texas. Viso’s career best finish on a street/road course is fourth at St. Petersburg in 2008 (overall career-high, third in Iowa). The 26-year-old Venezuelan has had competitive races on the street/road circuits this year. However, his efforts have been negated by a string of unfortunate incidents, most of which can only be described as bad luck (punctured tire at St. Pete, hit by another competitor at Barber, contact in Long Beach, questionable blocking penalty at Brazil, two punctured tires at Toronto and contact in Edmonton).
By: kv racing technology