KV RACING TECHNOLOGY QUALIFIES 12TH, 13TH AND 14TH FOR ITAIPAVA INDY 300 NESTLE
SĀO PAULO, Brazil – April 28, 2012 – KV Racing Technology drivers Tony Kanaan, Rubens Barrichello and E. J. Viso qualified 12th, 13th and 14th respectively for tomorrow’s Itaipava Indy 300 Nestle on the 2.5-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit at São Paulo, Brazil.
Kanaan, No. 11 ITAIPAVA | GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone recorded a qualifying time of 82.5210 seconds (110.634 mph). Barrichello, No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone qualified with a lap of 82.3939 seconds (110.804 mph). Viso, No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone had a qualifying time of 82.1494 seconds (1111.146 mph).
Kanaan ran in the first group in round one of today’s qualifying and was fifth out of the 13 drivers in his group thus advancing to round two. In round two, he placed 12th of the 12 cars and therefore did make into the final round, the Firestone Fast Six. Kanaan advanced to the second round of qualifying for the fourth time in fourth tries this year (made it to the final round once, at Barber). The 37-year old Brazilian has qualified in the top-10 in three of the four races this season. He qualified ninth and starting eighth at St. Petersburg, sixth at Barber and 10th, but started 19th as a result of a penalty assessed to all Chevy and some Lotus powered cars, at Long Beach.
"We have been chasing ourselves since the first practice,” Kanaan said. “We made a ton of changes from the first to the second practice and then again from the second practice to qualifying. The car kept improving, but during qualifying we made one change that did not go our way. We will keep working on the car overnight to get it ready for warm-up tomorrow and hopefully put on a good show for my fans and sponsors here in Brazil."
Kanaan will be making his sixth U. S. based series start in Brazil. He raced three times on the oval in Rio while competing in CART with a best starting position of third in 1998 and a best finish of fifth in 1999. In two previous races at São Paulo, Kanaan has a best staring position of sixth and a best finish of 10th both in 2010. Kanaan is coming off a spectacular season-high fourth place finish two weeks ago in Long Beach. The fop-five showing snapped a streak of bad luck that had plagued him in the first two events of the season and vaulted Kanaan from last in the championship race into a tie with his teammate Viso for 11th with 54 points and gave him the tiebreaker.
Barrichello was also in group one in round one of qualifying placing seventh in his group and therefore did not advance to the second round. The 39-year-old, who is immensely popular in his native Brazil, is off to a solid start in his IndyCar career after 19 seasons in Formula One. Barrichello debuted at St. Petersburg with a 17th place finish, however since then he has come on to earn back-to-back top-10 showings in the next two events placing eighth at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama and ninth two weeks ago on the streets of Long Beach, California. Barrichello, who has suffered because of a lack of track time in the first three events this year, mostly due to inclement weather, currently sits a team-high ninth in the championship standings with 59 points. He is no stranger to racing in Brazil having made 19 Formula One starts in his homeland with a best finish of third.
“I enjoyed qualifying,” Barrichello said. “For five laps I pushed the car hard. I didn’t want to give away any small percentage. I just learned the track this morning and I am still learning about the red (alternate) tire. I think it was a good qualifying. It is just so close and I’m still working to get into the top-10.”
Viso was in group two in the first round and posted the seventh fastest time in his group missing the second round by less than a 10th tenth of a second. He has advanced to round two of qualifying twice in four attempts this year and into the final round once (at Long Beach). The 27-year-old Venezuelan has qualified in the top-10 twice in four attempts this season (season-high fifth at Long Beach and seventh at Barber). He earned his best starting spot at São Paulo in three attempts. In two previous races he has a best finish of 12th in 2010. Last year, after qualifying 26th, Viso put on a tremendous display in the rain and later on a very wet track, to charge into second place before he was given a very questionable penalty for blocking which effectively ended his race.
“I am disappointed with how the day went,” Viso said. “ It was not the qualifying run we expected. I truly thought we were going to show the speed and performance that we did during qualifying in the previous races, but we couldn’t do it this time. We need to address a couple of things to get us back to where we belong. This series is so competitive that a little change, a little detail, can put you at the top or way down the grid. We have a strong team with a great group of drivers, so I think we can address the problems we have. As far as tomorrow, rain is predicted and that is a big variable that will affect the race strategy.”
Viso opened the season with the best start in his five-year IndyCar career (third with KVRT) placing a team-high eighth at St. Petersburg. In the second race, at Barber, he qualified seventh then struggled with a car that simply did not have the pace and finished 21st. At Long Beach, he again qualified well, a team-high fifth, but due to the penalty started 15th. He then had to overcome an incident with another competitor and a second penalty before finishing 12th.
The Itaipava Indy 300 Nestle will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 29 beginning at 12:00 p.m. (ET).
There were two practice sessions prior to today’s qualifying. In the first session , Barrichello took team honors with a lap of 83.2890 seconds (109.614 mph) good for 12th on the speed charts. Kanaan was 13th with a time of 83.3308 seconds (109.559mph) while Viso was 16th at 83.6632 seconds (109.123 mph). In the second practice Viso lead the team with the 11th fastest lap at 82.8191 seconds (110.235 mph), Barrichello was 14th with a lap of 82.9772 seconds (110.025 mph) and Kanaan 18th at 83.1766 seconds (109.762 mph).