KV Racing Technology – Lotus Qualifies Ninth, 12th And 16th For Honda Indy 200
KV Racing Technology – Lotus drivers Takuma Sato, E. J. Viso and Tony Kanaan qualified ninth, 12th and 16th respectively for tomorrow’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Sato, behind the wheel of the No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus machine, qualified with a fast lap of
68.8653 seconds (118.039 mph) on the picturesque and challenging 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio permanent road course. He will grid on the inside of row five. Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, had a fast lap of 68.9427 seconds (117.907 mph) and will grid on the outside of row six while Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, posted a lap of 69.3013 seconds (117.297 mph) and will lineup on the outside of row eight.
Sato and Viso advanced to the second round of qualifying marking the sixth time in seven street/road events this year that the team has had at least one driver advance (missed Toronto). Sato has made it to the second round five times (St. Petersburg, Barber, Sao Paulo, Edmonton and Mid-Ohio), Kanaan three times (St. Petersburg, Long Beach and Edmonton) and Viso twice (Edmonton and Mid-Ohio).
Sato has the team’s best qualifying record this year. He has now qualified in the top-11 nine times in 11 races (not counting the second race in Texas where the grid was determined by a draw), the top-10 seven times including four top-five starting positions with two poles. The 34-year-old from Japan is competing at Mid-Ohio for the second time. In his debut here last year he qualified third, but had an incident and finished 25th.
“I am extremely disappointed,” Sato said. “Although I didn’t get to run yesterday, the test session this morning went well and I was reasonably happy with the balance, but we knew we needed more speed for qualifying. It was a tough qualifying session. The car was sliding a lot and inconsistent. We are going to have to work hard, review all the data and hopefully find some more speed for tomorrow.”
Sato is 16th in the standings with 179 points, 33 out of 10th. He has finished in the top-10 four times including his first two IndyCar top-five finishes (St. Petersburg and Texas). In addition to his first top-five performances and first poles, Sato, who is in his second IndyCar season, has also led his first IndyCar race and subsequently led two more. He has had a legitimate chance to win the three races he led (Brazil, Iowa and Edmonton) only to have unfortunate incidents nullify strong performances.
Viso, making his fourth appearance at Mid-Ohio, continued his recent run of strong qualifying efforts today. The 26-year-old Venezuelan, who qualified a season-high fifth two weeks ago in Edmonton (career-high is fourth in Long Beach in 2008), has now made the second round of qualifying in consecutive races for the first time this season and the third time in his IndyCar career. Viso has qualified in the top-10 twice in four attempts here at Mid-Ohio with a best starting spot of eighth last year (ninth in 2009). His best finish is 15th in 2009.
“Today's qualifying did not reflect the rhythm or the momentum we had in the practice sessions,” Viso said. “I believe we still have some work to do with the red tires on road courses. We have been trying to address the red tire situation and every time we are getting closer to the solution. However, there is still a little bit missing that we need to figure out in order to be up there in qualifying.”
Viso is 20th in the points with 147 on the strength of three top-10 finishes including a season-high seventh in the first race in Texas and a road/street course high ninth in Toronto. In addition, he has had several strong efforts negated by a string of bad luck that included a punctured tire at St. Pete, getting hit by another competitor at Barber a questionable blocking penalty at Brazil and two punctured tires at Toronto.
Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 in five of 11 races this year (not counting the pole he drew for the second race in Texas). The 36-year-old Brazilian has qualified in the top-10 six times in 10 attempts here with a best starting position of third in 2007. In nine previous races he has finished in the top-10 five times with a best showing of fourth also in 2007.
"The car was extremely difficult to drive during the qualifying session,” Kanaan said. “It was handling a lot different than in our last practice session. It’s a shame...coming from the back tomorrow will not be easy, but we'll do our best to put the GEICO – KVRT - Lotus up front and try to maintain our championship position.”
Kanaan, fourth in the standings with 253 points, just 29 out of third, is having his best season in three years. He has been the model of consistency finishing in the top-10 seven times with five top-five showings and two podiums (second at Iowa and third at St. Petersburg) in 11 races. Kanaan has been extremely competitive on the road/street circuits this season finishing in the top-10 in four of the six races (St. Petersburg, third; Edmonton, fourth; Barber, sixth and Long Beach, eighth).
Sato took team honors in the morning practice session with a lap of 68.8747 seconds (118.023 mph) good for third on the practice report. Kanaan was second fastest at 69.3623 seconds (117.193 mph) placing him 10th, while Viso, who had the team’s top speed and third fastest overall at 69.6031 seconds (116.706 mph) yesterday, had a quick lap this morning of 69.6156 seconds (116.767 mph) and ended up 16th.