KV RACING TECHNOLOGY TO START EIGHTH, 12TH AND 13TH AT HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- MARCH 24, 2012 – KV Racing Technology drivers Tony Kanaan, E. J. Viso and Rubens Barrichello qualified ninth, 13th and 14th respectively, but will start eighth, 12th and 13th due to a penalty accessed to the Simon Pagenaud, in tomorrow’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, KV Racing Technology Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Kanaan, No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology w/ SH Chevrolet/Firestone, qualified with a lap of 61.8699 seconds (104.736 mph) on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit and will start on the outside of row four. Viso, No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone recorded a qualifying time of 62.5146 seconds (103.656 mph) putting him on the outside of row six. Barrichello. No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone, who was participating in his first IndyCar qualifying session, had a qualifying time of 62.2009 seconds (104.179 mph). He will grid on the inside of row seven. Kanaan advanced to the second round of qualifying, but fell just short of making the final round, the Firestone Fast Six. Both Viso and Barrichello were a tenth of a second shy of making the second round.

IndyCar street/road course qualifying has three rounds. In round one the drivers are split into two groups with the top-six in each group advancing to round two. Groups are determined by a draw with drivers who do not advance to the second round slotted on the grid based on their group (drivers from group one take the odd number slots 13 through 25 and drivers from group two take the even positions from 14 through 26 regardless of time. In round two the top six drivers advance to the final round with drivers six through 12 slotted on the grid accordingly. The fastest driver in the final round takes the pole with the other five driver assuming the next five positions based on their time in the finals.

Kanaan will be contesting his eighth race at St. Petersburg. The 37-year-old Brazilian had a solid qualifying effort placing fourth out of the 13 drivers in his group in round one and ninth out of the 12 drivers in round two (the top six in each of the two groups in round one advance to round two with the top six in round two advancing to the final round,). Kanaan is making his eighth appearance at St. Petersburg. He has qualified ninth or better for every race here with five top-three starting positions including twice on the front row with one pole, in 2008. Kanaan has finished in the top-10 in every race he has run here placing in the top-five all but once including four podium performances. His best showing is second in 2005. He placed third last year in his debut with KV Racing Technology.

“I am extremely happy about the whole team,” Kanaan said. “We were a tenth from all three cars making the top-12 and I was less than a tenth from making it to the Firestone Fast Six. It’s a pretty good start. We are not making excuses, but it is still a new team for all of us. I gathered some people from old times, but we are still trying to get a handle on everything. I don’t think I have room to be upset. We missed making the Firestone Fast Six by less than a tenth of a second. It is awesome.”

Viso will be making his fifth start and third with KVRT at St. Petersburg. The 27-year-old Venezuelan just missed the second round when gusting winds upset his car on his crucial lap. In five qualifying attempts here in St. Petersburg, Viso has a best starting position of ninth, in 2010. In four previous races he has a best finish of fourth in 2008, which is also his career high on a road/street circuit. Viso was leading here in 2010 late in the race when a mechanical problem forced him to the pits for repairs.

“It was a good qualifying result,” Viso said. “We ended up 13th and possibly 12th. It was one of those qualifying sessions where you finish up and you know that you have a better car than the results showed. I think we really have a top-seven or even a top-six car. We did not expect the wind to affect the car as much as it did. It really upset the balance on what would have been my fastest lap and I ended up missing the second round by just a tenth of a second. It’s okay. We have been working well as a team and we know we have potential. Tomorrow is going to be a big day and I am very excited.”

Barrichello, who earned 14 poles during his 19-year Formula One career, had an interesting IndyCar qualifying debut. The 39-year-old Brazilian, who signed with the team on March 1, ran just eight laps (mechanical problem) during the first practice session on Friday putting him behind on a track he had never seen before and needed as many laps as possible. He had not been higher than 20th on the speed charts in the three practice sessions prior to qualifying, but just missed making the second round in his first try.

"I think my first qualifying session went well,” Barrichello said. “I am playing catch up all the time. We unfortunately lost the morning session yesterday and I am still learning the circuit while the rest of the field is going flat out. I am pleased though, I improved this morning and today was the first time I have ever used the red (alternate) tires. I can never be pleased with 13th or 14th, but we have to set targets and my targets are high. I have done less than 50 laps on this track so far, so I have to be happy-ish with that. I am excited for tomorrow though and starting my first IndyCar race."

In the morning practice prior to qualifying, Viso posted the team’s fastest lap with a time of 62.2310 seconds (104.128 mph) placing him 11th on the speed charts. Kanaan was 12th with a lap of 62.3279 seconds (103.966 mph) with Barrichello 20th at 62.7945 seconds (103.194 mph).