IRL: Motegi: Panther Racing Thursday report

Matsuura Second Quick in First Motegi Practice Day Meira Crashes in First Session, Team Rallies to Get Brazilian Valuable Practice Time MOTEGI, Japan. (April 18, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Kosuke Matsuura took a huge step...

Matsuura Second Quick in First Motegi Practice Day

Meira Crashes in First Session, Team Rallies to Get Brazilian Valuable Practice Time

MOTEGI, Japan. (April 18, 2007) -- Super Aguri Panther Racing driver Kosuke Matsuura took a huge step towards putting on a show for his hometown fans, when he finished second quick Thursday in the first day of practice for the Indy Japan 300.

Vitor Meira crashed early in the day's first session and watched as his Delphi Panther team rallied to prepare his backup-up No. 4 car in time to turn valuable laps in the second practice session of the day. He finished 16th on the final speed chart, but the IndyCar Series veteran was not worried about his speed. More important to Meira was being able to turn 43 laps on Motegi's tricky 1.5-mile oval in preparation for tomorrow's qualifications.

Matsuura, who finished seventh in the event here last year, qualified sixth a year ago and is now preparing to make his fourth start in his home country. His quick lap of the day was 202.472 mph, 27.0260 seconds.

Meira finished 10th in the Indy Japan race last season, and his fastest lap today was recorded at 198.043 mph, 27.6304 seconds.

Kosuke Matsuura:

"We've got a great car. I couldn't get a good result in the morning session but the car's running great all day. I am satisfied with the setup and I could run pretty well alone so I want to run in traffic during the practice session tomorrow. The team has been working so hard on my car to win the race in my home country so I am looking forward to the qualifying tomorrow and hopefully get a good starting position."

Vitor Meira:

"Despite what happened today, it was a great effort from the Delphi Panther team. The crash was not a good situation for anybody, but Kosuke had a great day so we know the setup is there. Even last year we had a great setup here so it's my job now to shake it off and move ahead. This is a perfect example of how much having two cars helps."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Kosuke Matsuura , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing