KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – LOTUS DRIVER TONY KANAAN QUALIFIES THIRD FOR MOVETHATBLOCK.COM INDY 225
SATO TO START EIGHTH, VISO 17TH
LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE – AUGUST 13, 2011 – KV Racing Technology – Lotus driver Tony Kanaan continued his display of speed on short ovals qualifying a season-high tying third for tomorrow’s MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Takuma Sato also had a solid run qualifying eighth while E. J. Viso will start 17th.
Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, qualified with a two-lap average of 169.698 mph. He will start on the inside of row two. "It was a solid run, a little bit slower than I expected, but still good enough to hold the third spot until the end of the qualifying session,” Kanaan said. “You know, when you're one of the first guys to go out to qualify it kind of hurts your time because the track keeps getting faster and faster. I'm proud of my guys. The GEICO – KVRT – Lotus team did a very good job putting me up front. I think that we have a pretty good race car for tomorrow, but this is a tough track to pass so we'll see how it goes during the race."
Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, qualified with an average speed of 169.044 mph and will grid on the outside of row four. Commenting on his qualifying run Sato said, “It was a reasonably good qualifying session. In the morning practice the car felt good. Then in the afternoon session the track conditions changed because of the different tire rubber used by the support series, so it was difficult to judge which direction to go with the setup. For qualifying the track conditions were more like this morning and the car felt secure. I was a little disappointed because the car felt ‘draggy’ so hopefully we can make some improvements for the race tomorrow.”
Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, averaged 166.536 mph and will lineup on the inside of row nine. Regarding his qualifying effort Viso said, "I am not happy. We know we had a good setup, my two teammates proved that. But for some reason we haven't been able to do the same with our car. It was just very difficult to drive in qualifying. I had huge understeer that prevented me from going faster. Tomorrow is another day and the race is going to be one of the most difficult of the season, so we will now focus on making the car good for the race."
All three KVRT – Lotus drivers qualified for their first race on the traditional one-mile New Hampshire oval. Kanaan is the only one of the three who has been here before having participated in a Firestone tire test last year.
Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 seven times including three top-five starting spots in 12 races this year (not including drawing the pole for the second race in Texas). The 36-year-old Brazilian has been even better on ovals starting in the top-six four times in five races (not counting Texas No.2) including season-high thirds here in New Hampshire and at Iowa (qualified sixth at Texas race No. 1, and fourth at Milwaukee). Kanaan, fourth in the championship race with 283 points, leads KVRT – Lotus with eight top-10 finishes including six top-five showings and two podiums (second at Iowa and third at St. Petersburg) in 12 races (Texas two starts). On ovals he has earned three top-five finishes with one podium (Indianapolis, fourth; Texas race No. 2, fifth and Iowa, second) and led 58 laps (Milwaukee, 33 and Iowa, 25).
Sato has been the team’s best qualifier this year starting in the top-11 a total of 10 times in 12 races (not counting Texas No. 2), the top-10 eight times, the top-five four times with two poles (IndyCar career first at Iowa and second on the street circuit at Edmonton). On ovals he has qualified in top-10 all five times (not counting second race Texas where gird was determined by a draw) with three top-five starting spots and the one pole (fourth for Texas No. 1, fifth in Milwaukee). The 34-year-old from Japan is 12th in the standings with 212 points, just 10 points out of 10th. He has finished in the top-10 five times this year including scoring his first three IndyCar top-five finishes (career-high fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifths at St. Petersburg and Texas). On ovals, he has earned two top-10 finishes (oval career-high fifth at Texas in race No. 1 and eighth at Milwaukee) and led his first oval laps, seven, at Iowa.
Viso has qualified in the top-10 twice this year starting a season-high fifth at Edmonton and an oval career-high sixth at Milwaukee. The 26-year-old Venezuelan, who is 20th in the standings with 162 points, has finished in the top-10 three times this year, twice on ovals, a season-high seventh in race one at Texas and 10th in the second (finished a road/street course season-high ninth at Toronto). One of Viso’s best performances this season came at Milwaukee, where he was running in fourth place late in the race, but fell victim to an accident. Viso’s IndyCar career-high oval finish is a third at Iowa last year.
KVRT – Lotus has been exceptionally competitive on ovals this year. The team has now qualified in the top-10 a total of 11 times including seven top-five starting positions and two poles in five oval events (not counting Texas race No. 2 where Kanaan got the pole by virtue of a draw). On short ovals, Milwaukee, Iowa and here in New Hampshire, they have been even stronger qualifying in the top-10 seven times, the, the top-six, six times, the top-five five times with one pole in nine attempts. They put all three cars in the top-six at Milwaukee. In the five oval races contested so far this year, counting Texas as two starts, KVRT – Lotus has finished in the top-10 seven times, including four top-five showings and one podium performance. In the two short oval races the team has led laps in both events, 33 at Milwaukee and 32 at Iowa, however late race incidents have foiled their chances at a victory and limited their results to two top-10 finishes, an eighth at Milwaukee (Sato) and a second at Iowa (Kanaan).
There were two practice sessions today prior to qualifying. In the morning practice today, Kanaan had the fastest lap of the KVRT – Lotus trio with a speed of 170.322 mph (21.6649 seconds) putting him third on the practice report. Sato was fifth with a lap of 169.256 mph (21.8013 seconds) with Viso 18th at 166.328 mph (22.1851 seconds). In the second session, Sato, who only ran nine laps because of extremely poor track conditions, had the team’s fastest speed at 166.540 mph (22.1568 seconds) placing him fourth on the practice report. Kanaan, 13 laps, was second fastest and 11th on the speed charts with a lap of 164.261 mph (22.4642 seconds) while Viso, 38 laps, was 22nd overall at 155.287 mph (23.7625 seconds).