KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – LOTUS PLACES TWO DRIVERS IN TOP-10 AFTER FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR BALTIMORE GRAND PRIX
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 2, 2011 – After several delays to make sure the track was in proper condition KV Racing Technology – Lotus got in 75 minutes of practice and placed two drivers in the top-10 on the speed charts during the opening day of the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix in Baltimore, Maryland.
Takuma Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, led the way with a lap of 82.9705 seconds (88.513 mph) on the 2.04-mile, 13-turn temporary street circuit placing him seventh on the practice report. Tony Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus was ninth with a time of 83.1990 seconds (88.270 mph) while E. J. Viso, who spent much of the session in the top-10 before experiencing a mechanical problem, ended up 23rd with a lap of 84.4138 seconds (87.000 mph).
Sato, 11th in the standings with 250 points, said, “First of all I have to say I am very impressed with the venue and the enthusiasm of the fans. It is really great.”
The 34-year-old from Japan, who has finished in the top-10 six times including his first three IndyCar top-five finishes (career-high fourth on the road course at Mid-Ohio, fifths at St. Petersburg and Texas) so far this year went on to say, “It was a good practice session. The track has got a unique characteristic. It has a smooth high-speed section and a bumpy concrete section. It is a very interesting and fun track. It was important to have a trouble free first session, which we did, and collect valuable data.” . Kanaan, sixth in the championship race with 305 points said, "I had kind of a short practice run today. Looked like every time I left the pits a full course yellow came out, so I don't think I got the amount of laps I'd like to get being at a completely new track. As expected from a street course the track is very bumpy and also narrow because of the walls on both sides. I hope that tomorrow we can get some more laps in to improve our car before qualifying. Starting up in front here will be crucial in order to get a good result."
The 36-year-old Brazilian has finished in the top-10 eight times this season including six top-five showings and two podiums (second at Iowa and third at St. Petersburg). Kanaan has finished in the top-10 in five of the eight street/road races this year, including three top-five finishes and a podium (St. Petersburg, third; Edmonton, fourth; Mid-Ohio, fifth also placed sixth at Barber and eighth at Long Beach).
Viso, 18th in the standings with 202 points, is coming off a road/street course season-high tying ninth place finish last weekend in Sonoma. Commenting on today’s practice he said, “It's a fun street course, but high frequency bumps. This is asking a lot from the setup of the car especially in the faster corners with the braking and traction, which we will be working on again tomorrow. I was running in the top-10 for most of the session until I had a mechanical failure in the last 16 minutes and the others drivers were able to put on new tires and set faster times. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
The 26-year-old Venezuelan, who after a rough start to the season, has now finished in the top-10 four times this year, twice on ovals, a season-high seventh in race one at Texas and 10th in the second plus the ninths at Toronto and Sonoma. His career best finish on a road/street course is fourth at St. Petersburg in 2008 (overall career-high, third in Iowa).
There will be another practice session tomorrow from 9:05 – 10:05 a.m. followed by qualifying at 12:10 p.m. The Baltimore Grand Prix will be broadcast live, Sunday, September 4 on Versus at 2:00 p.m. ET