Indianapolis Motor Speedway
KV RACING TECHNOLOGY– LOTUS PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES
ALL THREE CARS FOR 2011 INDY 500
SATO HAS IMPRESSIVE QUALIFYING PERORMANCE
SPEEDWAY, IN – KV Racing Technology – Lotus provisionally qualified all three cars today for the 2011 Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.
Sato (2)Takuma Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, was impressive leading the team with a four-lap average of 225.736 mph putting him 10th on the grid after the first day of qualifying. E. J. Viso, No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology – Lotus, who ran some of his best laps since opening day, had a four-lap average of 224.732 mph placing him 18th. Tony Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, had an average speed of 224.417 mph and sits 23rd.
I am very pleased with what we achieved today ...
Today was pole day and the first 24 qualifiers were provisionally determined. Tomorrow, Bump Day, the final nine cars will be slotted filling the field of 33. After the grid is full “bumping begins” starting with the slowest car in the field regardless of the day they qualified. The only cars that cannot be bumped are the first nine. Sato and Viso are relatively safe however, Kanaan who ran the second slowest time today, could be bumped if 11 cars were to go faster than his speed. It is highly unlikely, but possible.
Sato, who provisionally qualified for his second Indy 500, had an extremely consistent run. His fastest lap was his third, 225.803 mph, and his slowest was his first, 225.648 mph. They varied by just .155 mph. In his Indy 500 debut last year, Sato struggled in qualifying ending up 31st, but was having a strong race getting into the top-10 until he had a problem in the pits and ended up finishing 20th.
Commenting on his qualifying effort Sato said, “It was an incredible day. I am very pleased with what we achieved today qualifying the MonaVie – KVRT – Lotus car in the top-10. The team did a fantastic
job preparing the car over the winter and we have worked very closely as a group to put everything together. Qualifying was a bit tricky. The conditions were quite cool and the wind direction was unique. It was a challenge because the car wiggled a little bit, but I enjoyed qualifying. It was an outstanding job by my engineer and mechanics. I am very pleased and happy. Now it is time to really get to work on the race setup.”
Viso, who is attempting to make the field for his fourth Indy 500 also had a consistent run, however his first lap was his fastest and the next two progressively slower. His final lap was slightly faster than his third. This was Viso’s best qualifying effort in four attempts at the Speedway. His previous high was 19th last year. His best finish is 24th in 2009.
"Well today I had a pretty clean qualifying run,” Viso said. “We matched the lap times that we were suppose to with the resources we had. We definitely need to find some speed if we do get bumped tomorrow, but I think we are safe in the position we are. It has been a fun week and half at IMS. We have done a lot of work as a team developing the car and today was the one day we needed to put all that data together and I think we did our best. It is a big compliment to all of my PDVSA KVRT - Lotus crew they have put in some long hours and worked hard. Now I'm looking forward to the race as I believe we have a good race car also. It's a long race and anything can happen."
Kanaan, who is trying to make the field for his 10th Indy 500, ran four progressively slower laps with the fourth, coming in at 224.417 mph. After qualifying in the top-six in his first eight races at the Brickyard, including taking the pole in 2005, Kanaan started 33rd (last) last year and potentially 23rd this year. The talented Brazilian has finished in the top-eight on four occasions and in the top-five three times with a best showing of second in 2004. However, last year starting last, may have been his most impressive performances here as he charged into second place before finishing 11th.
"It was not what I wanted, but it was what I was expecting,” Kanaan said of today’s qualifying. ‘I'm glad that we got the car in today but tomorrow is another day and we need to see what's going to happen to the field when the bumping begins."
Qualifying for the 2011 Indianapolis 500 continues tomorrow with Bump Day beginning at 12:00 noon and concluding at 6:00 p.m. The 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 is Sunday, May 29. It will be broadcast live on ABC beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET.