Sonoma, CA – KV Racing Technology driver Rubens Barrichello had a sensational race to finish a season-high fourth today in the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on the newly modified 2.358-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway permanent road course in Sonoma, California. Teammate Tony Kanaan made it two cars in the top-10 for the team with a 10th place finish, while E. J. Viso, the third of the KVRT trio, placed 16th.
Barrichello, No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, who contested his first race in Sonoma today, qualified 12th, but started 11th after a penalty was accessed to Justin Wilson for an unauthorized engine change. The Brazilian super-star had a fantastic start to the race picking up three positions on the opening lap and was in seventh by lap three.
Over the next three stints, he drove a very steady, professional race and got three flawless pit stops from his BMC | Embrase – KVRT crew. Barrichello ran in seventh or eighth position, never dropping below 10th for much of the race, but battled his way into fifth place with a couple of outstanding passes just prior to his final stop for fuel and tires on lap 63.
He rejoined in sixth place, taking over fifth on lap 75 when Ryan Hunter-Reay spun and then immediately passed Alex Tagliani to take over fourth. Over the final 10 laps of the 85-lap contest, he held off a ferocious challenge from Graham Rahal to earn the best finish of his inaugural IndyCar season surpassing a seventh place showing on the oval at Iowa.
"It is a great finish for the weekend,” Barrichello said. “I need to thank the team and my crew for all the hard work they have done. This result has been a long time coming. We didn't have many strategy options here, just a straight three stop race, but everyone did a fantastic job. I had some great restarts and was able to pass a few people and this is definitely a better result than some of the ones I have had in the past."
Barrichello has finished 11 of 13 races in his first IndyCar season (both his DNFs came as a result of non-team related component failures) earning six top-10 finishes (also placed 11th twice, at Toronto and the Indianapolis 500 where he won the Chase Rookie of the Year Award). He earned 32 points today and is 14th in the standings with 247 points, 29 points out of 10th place.
Kanaan, No. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS | GEICO – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car, qualified 18th, but started 16th after the penalty to Wilson and one to Sebastian Saavedra, also for an unauthorized engine change. From the drop of the green flag, Kanaan showed that his car was faster than where he qualified as he picked up four positions on the first lap.
However, in the chaos of the opening lap he his damaged his front wing. Kanaan declined to pit for a new wing and despite the severe handicap picked up two more places over the next two laps to move into 10th place. Showing determination and skill, he continued to battle and managed to basically hold position getting as high seventh and never lower than 12th until his final pit stop on lap 63.
Unfortunately, when he tried to exit the pit his car refused to go into first gear because of a non-team related software problem that affected the clutch and the car stalled. After restarting the No. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS | GEICO – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, the first gear engaged, but Kanaan had lost valuable time and dropped to 15th place.
He fought back, a now confirmed broken wing and all, overtaking cars and taking advantage of other driver’s mistakes. In the end, Kanaan clawed his way back into the top-10 to earning valuable championship points.
“I definitely had a top-six car today,” Kanaan said. “The first lap I broke my front wing and even with that problem I got up to seventh place. However during our last pit stop the car got stuck in neutral, which put us a lap down. We continue to fight and fortunately were able to savage a top-10 finish which gave us valuable championship points.”
Kanaan, who contested his eighth race at Sonoma Raceway today, finished in the top-10 for the sixth time including a victory in his Sonoma debut in 2005. The 37-year-old Brazilian has finished 12 of the 13 races this year (his only DNF came at St. Petersburg where he had a non-team related component failure). Kanaan is having another remarkably consistent season.
He has earned eight top-10 finishes including seven top-six showings with three podium performances (season-high second at Milwaukee and thirds at Iowa and Indy). Five of his top-10 finishes have come on road/street circuits (fourths at Toronto and Long Beach, sixths at Detroit and Mid-Ohio along with today’s 10th place showing).
The hugely popular Kanaan scored 20 points today and is now sixth in the championship race with 327 points, just 10 points out of fifth.
Viso, in the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, qualified 19th and started 17th after the penalties. He, like his teammates, got a good start picking up four positions in the first three laps. Viso ran in 13th place for the first two stints, but fell back to 17th following his final pit stop. He fought back, but with just under 10 laps remaining he was hit and spun by Hunter-Reay, essentially ending his race.
“We had a very tough weekend,” Viso said. “We only ran a few laps over the first two days because of mechanical issues in both practice sessions. That meant we went to qualifying without knowing how the car would behave on new tires. Qualifying didn’t go as well as we hoped and on this circuit starting in the back is never good.
In the race, we had some good stints. I overtook some cars and we were making our way through the field. I think we had the potential for top-12 finish, however with four laps left in the race Ryan Hunter-Reay hit me in turn seven and the car spun which eliminated any change of a good result.”
Viso, 27, competed in his fifth event at Sonoma today. He has a best finish of sixth in his debut at Sonoma in 2008. The talented and determined Venezuelan, has now finished 11 of the 13 races this year (neither of his DNF’s were his or the team’s fault), scoring three top-10 finishes including a season-high fifth at Milwaukee and a road/street course best eighth at St. Petersburg.
Viso earned 14 points today and is 20th in the standings with 212 points
Source: KV Racing Technology