IRL: Richmond: SAFR, Matsuura qualifying report

Matsuura 13th at Richmond after Limited Track Time Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] has qualified 13th for tomorrow's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. Intermittent rain reduced practice activities on the fast ...

Matsuura 13th at Richmond after Limited Track Time

Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] has qualified 13th for tomorrow's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway. Intermittent rain reduced practice activities on the fast .75-mile oval as teams prepared for the second of three night races on the 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series schedule. Matsuura, who leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year standings, will making his sixth IndyCar Series start.

Weather: First practice session [Group One -- Matsuura], intermittent light rain with temperatures in the upper 70's. Second practice group [Fernandez -- Group Two], only 15 minutes of practice due to rain. For the final practice session at 4:15 pm, temperatures in the mid-80s under partly cloudy skies. Temperatures at 77 F for qualifying.

Practice Recap: Matsuura completed 40 laps in the first practice session, which was interrupted by intermittent light rain. With the threat of additional rain in the late afternoon, the entire field was given 10 minutes of practice at 4:15 pm with MBNA Pole Qualifying rescheduled for 6:10 pm. Matsuura completed a total of 47 laps in practice with a best lap of 16.2077 166.587 mph.

Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:

"This was my best time of the day. The car wasn't as good as I expected. The problem was that we lost a lot of practice time with the rain, and this is my first time at this track and my first time on a short track. It was difficult to make a good, single lap. I think if we could have had more practice, I could have improved by a couple of tenths. We had all the cars on track for the final practice and traffic was a problem. The first practice session was okay and we made a pretty good setup, but we couldn't do anything the second session because of traffic. I am going to work for a good result tomorrow."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his sixth IRL IndyCar Series career start-- currently leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year standings by 28 points-- currently sits 12th in the championship point standings, 13 points out of the top 10-- claimed best starting position to date of fourth at Texas and Japan-- posted best finish to date of eighth in Japan-- 24 years old from Aichi, Japan-- began his career in karts at the age of 14-- finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup-- finished second in the 2002 German Formula 3 Championship-- won the 2000 Japanese Formula Dream Series Championship before heading to Europe in 2001 to compete in German F3-- has been a member of Co-Owner Aguri Suzuki's ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) driver development project since 1998 after climbing up the Japanese karting ranks--currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

-safr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Kosuke Matsuura