KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – LOTUS FOURTH, FIFTH AND SIXTH ON SPEED CHARTS AFTER FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR MOVETHATBLOCK.COM INDY 225
LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE – AUGUST 11, 2011 – KV Racing Technology – Lotus drivers Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato and E. J. Viso once again showed they have the speed to compete by recording the fourth, fifth and sixth fastest laps respectively during the first day of practice for Sunday’s MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, who like his teammates is looking to qualify for his first race on the one-mile traditional oval (although Kanaan has been to NHMS before for a Firestone tire test last year), ran 117 laps (the second fewest of any driver behind Pippa Mann who ran just 75 laps) during two practice sessions, the first in the morning for two and half hours and the second in the afternoon for three hours. He recorded a fast lap of 169.758 mph (21.7368 seconds)
"We had a pretty solid day today,” Kanaan said. “We took our time to go out in the morning practice, but we were fast right away and kept improving the car during the afternoon run. I think that there are some minor tweaks that we can try on Saturday before qualifying to see if we can get the car a little bit faster, but overall I'm happy with how the day went."
Kanaan is fourth in the championship race with 283 points. He leads the KVRT – Lotus team 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, the 36-year-old Brazilian has earned three top-five finishes with one podium (Indianapolis, fourth; Texas race No. 2, fifth and Iowa, second) in five oval events this year. Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 in six of 12 races this year (including the pole he drew for the second race in Texas). His oval qualifying record is even more impressive with Kanaan starting in the top-six four times in five races (qualified sixth at Texas in race No. 1, drew the pole for Texas No. 2, started fourth at Milwaukee and a season-high third at Iowa). Kanaan has led 58 laps on ovals (Milwaukee, 33 and Iowa, 25).
Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, who ran his first laps ever at NHMS logged a total of 160 laps during the two sessions posting a speed of 169.489mph (21.7713 seconds). “It was a good first day, Sato said. “We ran a lot of miles and I learned a lot. This track is quite unique, but we were up to speed very quickly and worked on various things. It was a very productive day.”
Sato, coming off an IndyCar career-high fourth place finish in Mid-Ohio last week, is 12th in the standings with 212 points, just 10 points out of 10th. The 34-year-old from Japan has finished in the top-10 five times this year including scoring his first three IndyCar top-five finishes (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). Sato has been the team’s top qualifier this year starting in the top-11 nine times in 11 races (not counting the second Texas race), the top-10 seven times the top-five four times with the two poles (his IndyCar career first on the oval at Iowa and a second on the street circuit at Edmonton). On ovals he has qualified in top-10, four times with three top-five starting spots and the one pole (qualified fourth for Texas race No. 1, fifth in Milwaukee). He led his first oval laps, seven, at Iowa.
Commenting on today’s practice, Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, who also made his first appearance here in New Hampshire, turned a total of 148 laps while clocking a quick lap of 169.466 mph (21,7743 seconds), said. "Here we are back on the short ovals. We believe that the momentum we built on the previous short ovals, Milwaukee and Iowa, are paying off here. Today we did some good simulations of qualifying and all three cars ran roughly the same lap times. Now we concentrate on working on our race pace, which I consider is going to be very important at this race probably more than at other ones. The track has some bumps and it's difficult to overtake so it's going to be long and physical."
Viso is 20th in the standings with 162 points. The 26-year-old Venezuelan has finished in the top-10 three times this year, two of them coming on ovals. He finished a season-high seventh in the first race in Texas and 10th in the second (finished a road/street course season-high ninth in Toronto). Viso has had several strong efforts this year negated by a string of misfortune that includes a very strong performance at Milwaukee where he was running in fourth place late in the race when he had an accident. Viso qualified an oval career-high sixth at Milwaukee (second highest of the season). His best IndyCar finish came last year on the oval at Iowa where he placed third. Viso has qualified in the top-10 twice this year starting a season-high fifth at Edmonton to go with the sixth at Milwaukee.
All three KVRT – Lotus drivers have been extremely competitive on ovals this year. In five ovals, counting Texas as two starts, the KVRT – Lotus trio has amassed a record that includes seven top-10 finishes, including four top-five showings and one podium performance (not including Tomas Scheckter’s eighth place finish at Indy). They have qualified in the top-10 nine times including six top-five starting positions and two poles (Kanaan got the pole in Texas race No. 2 by virtue of a draw). In the two short oval events, Milwaukee and Iowa, the team has been exceptionally strong vying for the win in both races, but falling slightly short. They qualified in the top-six five times in six attempts, the top-five four times and put all three cars in the top-six at Milwaukee. In both races they led laps, 33 at Milwaukee and 32 at Iowa, and at Milwaukee all three drivers ran in the top-four, however late race accidents or mishaps foiled their chances at a victory and limited their results to an eighth at Milwaukee and a second at Iowa.
In the morning practice today, Kanaan led the way for KVRT – Lotus with a fast lap of 167.869 mph (21.9814 seconds) putting him third on the practice report. Sato was right behind in the fourth spot with a speed of 166.917 mph (22.1068 seconds) with Viso 18th at 161.892 mph (22.7930 seconds).
There will be no practice tomorrow (Friday) however there will be two practice sessions on Saturday prior to qualifying. The first from 9:00 – 10:10 a.m. ET and the second will be in two groups with the first going out at 12:00 p.m. and the second at 12:30 p.m. Qualifying will begin at 3:00 p.m. TheMoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 will be broadcast live, Sunday, August 14 on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET