KV Racing Toronto Qualifying Report

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KV Racing Technology – Lotus Has Disappointing Qualifying Session For Honda Indy Toronto

KV Racing Technology – Lotus had its most disappointing qualifying session of the season today at the Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto, Canada.

Takuma Sato, KV Racing Technology-Lotus
Takuma Sato, KV Racing Technology-Lotus

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Tony Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO- KV Racing Technology – Lotus, qualified 16th with a lap of 60.0149 seconds (105.274 mph) on the 1.75-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit. He will start on the outside of row eight. E. J. Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus recorded a lap of 60.1191 seconds (105.091 mph) while Takuma Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, had a fast lap of 60.1003 seconds (105.124 mph). Even though Viso had a slower time than Sato, he will start 18th based on being ninth in the second group in Round No. 1 while Sato will start 19th based on being 10th in the first group in the first round. Viso will start on the outside of row nine with Sato on the inside of row 10. This is the first time this year (five street/road events) that KVRT – Lotus has failed to get at least one driver into the second round of qualifying.

Kanaan, who will be making his seventh start at Toronto tomorrow, has now qualified in the top-10 five times in seven attempts with a best starting position of fourth in 2001. In six previous races on the streets of Toronto, the 36-year-old from Brazil has finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of fourth last year. Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 five times in nine races this year (not counting the fact he drew the pole in the second race in Texas) with a best starting position of third on the oval in Iowa. His best street/road course starting spot is eighth at St. Petersburg.

"It was a tough qualifying,” Kanaan said. “We left with seven minutes to go and on my fast lap I got blocked twice and missed out on moving up to Q2. I believe that I had a top-six car, so it's a shame that we're going to start mid-pack. My car is good for the race, so it's going to be a matter of keeping myself out of trouble during the race to get a good result for the GEICO-KV-Lotus guys".

Kanaan will be looking to continue his strong start to the 2011 season and move up in the championship race. He is currently fifth in the standings with 211 points just three points out of fourth and 19 out of third, on the strength of six top-10 finishes, four top-five placements and two podium performances (second at Iowa and third at St. Petersburg). Kanaan has been strong on the road/street circuits this year finishing on the podium at St. Petersburg (third), sixth at Barber (started 24th and then picked up an astonishing 18 positions) and eighth at Long Beach. The only time he has failed to finish in the top-10 on a road/street circuit this year was in Brazil when he was hit on the opening lap and forced to pit for repairs.

Viso will be making his third start at Toronto. His best qualifying position is 13th last year and his best finish is 13th in 2009. The 26-year-old Venezuelan has a best qualifying position this year of sixth on the Milwaukee Mile with a road/street course high of 17th at Long Beach. His career high on a street/road course is fourth at Long Beach in 2009.

"We definitely didn't deserve the qualifying results we got as a team,” Viso said. “We showed all weekend that we had cars to be in the top-10. I was unable to find that extra bit of grip with the red tires that the other drivers found and I think this is something that really cost us. The race tomorrow is going to be a long one, so we need to plan to have a conservative approach to it. It can be a little bit chaotic so I need to try and stay out of any issues and just get to the end of the race."

Viso is 21st in the standings with 113 points, 29 out 15th. Although he has not qualified well on street and road circuits, he has been competitive in the races only to have his efforts nullified by what can only be described as bad luck. At St. Petersburg, Viso was running ninth before suffering a punctured tire. At Barber, he was in 11th place when he was hit by another competitor and at Long Beach was sitting in 10th when an attempted pass resulted in contact. In Brazil, he was having his best race of the year, driving from 26th to second, however IndyCar officials determined he was blocking and accessed him a drive through penalty.

Sato is making his second appearance in Toronto. In his debut here last year he qualified 18th and finished 25th. The 34-year-old from Japan has now qualified in the top-11 in seven of the nine events this year (no qualifying for second Texas race), including five top-10 starting spots and three in the top-five and one pole (Iowa, his first). He best qualifying position on a street/road course this year is 10th in Brazil (IndyCar career high on street/road course is third at Mid-Ohio last year).

“It was a disappointing qualifying session,” Sato said. “In practice this morning we struggled with the balance and grip of the car. We tried some different things in qualifying and the car was better, but it wasn’t enough to get through the first round of qualifying. We will have review everything tonight and work hard to come up with some changes for the race tomorrow.

Sato, who is having a solid second IndyCar season, is also looking to move up in the standings. He has been in the top-10 much of the season and currently sits 13th with 155 points just six points out of 10th. So far this year, Sato has already earned his first pole (becoming the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar pole), led his first IndyCar race (23 laps at Brazil) and scored his first top-five finishes (St. Petersburg, street circuit and Texas, oval). He has finished in the top-10 four times (the fifths at St. Petersburg and Texas, eighths at Milwaukee and Brazil). Sato, a veteran of seven Formula One seasons, as expected, has been extremely competitive on road and street circuits this year. In addition to the IndyCar career high tying fifth at St. Petersburg and the eighth at Brazil, he has had several strong performances thwarted by misfortune.

Kanaan led the team in the final morning practice before qualifying with a time of 60.3029 seconds (105.771mph) putting him fourth on the practice report. Viso was 10th overall with a lap of 60.5577 seconds (104.330 mph) with Sato 21st at 60.9857 seconds (103.598 mph).

By: kv racing technology - lotus

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Series INDYCAR
Tags exhibition place, indycar, izod, kanaan, kv racing, lotus, sato, toronto, viso