KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – LOTUS DRIVER E. J. VISO QUALIFIES NINTH FOR TOMORROW’S INAUGURAL BALTIMORE GRAND PRIX
KANAAN TO START 11TH, SATO LOSES TWO FASTEST LAPS WILL START 28TH
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 3, 2011 – KV Racing Technology – Lotus driver E. J. Viso, qualified ninth for tomorrow’s inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on the 2.04-mile, 13-turn downtown temporary street circuit in Baltimore, Maryland. Teammates Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato will start 11th and 28th respectively.
For the second week in a row Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, qualified a team- high ninth with a time of 80.9416 seconds (90.732 mph) and will start on the inside of row five. Viso has now made it to at least the second round of street/road course qualifying in the last four consecutive events, including making the final round, the Firestone Fast Six, once. In addition to the ninth place starting positions here in Baltimore and in Sonoma, he qualified a season-high fifth at Edmonton and 12th at Mid-Ohio.
Commenting on today’s qualifying and tomorrow’s race Viso said, “Being again in the top-10 is always good, especially after having limited practice yesterday,” Viso said. “Half of the track is really smooth and the other half is very bumpy so there has to be a huge compromise in the setup of the car. It’s going to be a long and messy race. We can see that there are going to be some yellows. We had a few issues with braking today, which prevented us from getting in the top-six, but we will look at all the data tonight and go over the car and we should be faster tomorrow. We just want to finish the race and we believe a good result will come with it as we think a lot of cars won't make it to the end.”
Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, who also reached the second round of qualifying for the fourth time this season, posted a fast lap of 81.3764 seconds (90.247 mph). He will start on the inside of row six.
"We made some good progress with our setup from this morning and considering that we were 22nd in the last practice, getting an 11th place on qualifying is not that bad,” Kanaan said. “That's the good thing about how KVRT - Lotus works. We have three cars and we swap a lot of info, so sometimes one of us might not look as good during a practice because we are trying something different, but then we compare our feedbacks and go with the best setup. I am ready to put on a good show tomorrow for my friends from GEICO and all the fans from the Baltimore area."
Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, was third on the speed charts in the first round with just minutes remaining in the session when he spun and stalled the car causing a full course caution. Per the series rules he was therefore penalized his two fastest laps which initially dropped him to 13 of the 14 cars in his group. Following the caution there was enough time to run one timed lap and in a valiant effort Sato once again logged a time that would have placed him fourth in his group and advance him to the second round, but that lap was also taken away by the penalty, leaving him last on tomorrow’s starting grid.
“I had a positive feeling in qualifying and after a few laps in traffic I was able to put in a time that would have got me through the first round of qualifying,” Sato said. “Unfortunately, I was running a faster lap and on the downshift I had a problem and lost the drive and stalled the car which caused a caution. That meant I lost my two fastest laps. After the caution I got one more timed lap and ran a lap that again would have gotten me into the second round of qualifying, but again that lap was taken away. I am extremely disappointed with my qualifying position for the race, but I will try my best.”
This is the eighth time in nine street/road events this year that KVRT – Lotus has had at least one driver advance to the second round of street/road course qualifying (missed only in Toronto). Sato has done it five times (St. Petersburg, Barber, Sāo Paulo, Edmonton and Mid-Ohio), Kanaan (St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Edmonton and Baltimore) and Viso four (Edmonton, Mid-Ohio, Sonoma and Baltimore). KVRT – Lotus has had some of their best results on street/road circuits this year earning 10 top-10 finishes with five top-five showings in the eight street/road events contested so far this year.
Viso has now qualified in the top-10 four times this year. In addition to the ninths at Sonoma and Baltimore, he has qualified an oval career-high sixth at Milwaukee and a season-high fifth at Edmonton. The 26-year-old Venezuelan is 18th in the standings with 202 points. He has finished in the top-10 four times, twice on ovals, a season-high seventh in race one at Texas and 10th in the second, plus street/road course season-high ninths at Toronto and Sonoma. His career best finish on a street/road course is fourth at St. Petersburg in 2008 (overall career-high, third in Iowa).
Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 seven times including three top-five starting spots. The 36-year-old Brazilian is sixth in the championship race with 305 points. He has finished in the top-10 eight times this season including six top-five showings and two podiums (season-high second at Iowa and third at St. Petersburg). Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 just twice in nine street/road events this year (best starting spot is eighth at St. Petersburg), but 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).
Sato has been the team’s best qualifier this year starting in the top-10 eight times; the top-five four times with two poles (IndyCar career first at Iowa and Edmonton). He has qualified in the top-11 five times in nine attempts on road/street circuits this year including taking the pole at Edmonton. The 34-year-old from Japan is 11th in the standings with 250 points. He 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). Three of his top-10 finishes and two of his top-fives have come on street/road circuits
In this morning’s practice today, Sato had the fastest lap of the KVRT – Lotus trio with a time of 81.8848 seconds (89.686 mph) putting him 11th on the practice report. Viso was 13th with a lap of 82.0163 seconds (89.543 mph) with Kanaan 22nd at 82.6071 seconds (88.903 mph)
The Baltimore Grand Prix will be broadcast live, Sunday, September 4 on Versus at 2:00 p.m. ET