Indianapolis, IN (Sunday, May 20, 2012) - Lotus HVM Racing's Simona De Silvestro qualified the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car today for this year's 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. De Silvestro was first in line when qualifying began at noon today thanks to the lucky draw of Twitter contest winner Jeff Wiedemann. Wiedemann was the second contest winner in two days to make an excellent qualifying draw for the team. Friday's draw saw Domingo Riego pick the third spot in line for the team.
The team didn't make an attempt in yesterday's first round of qualifying, but today De Silvestro drove a very strong and consistent four laps (all within two-tenths of each other). Average speed for the qualifying run was 214.393, which places her in 32nd position on the starting grid for next Sunday's 500-mile race.
De Silvestro is thrilled to be in the field of 33. "I'm really happy that we qualified. It was a good day for us. We found a bit of speed in the car and that's a good thing. I think I have a lot of work on my side finding how to best maneuver in traffic. My team's been working really hard and I'm glad I was able to come through for them. I've had a lot of support from everybody; from my team and from all the Nuclear Clean Air Energy sponsors. I'm just happy to be in the 500."
Shane Seneviratne, Lotus HVM Team Manager, was pleased with today's outcome. "It's been a bit of a struggle," he said, "but we made it into the field. I have to say Simona and the team made the best of the situation we were presented with and everyone worked really hard to get the car qualified. They deserve it. I also have to thank Lotus for their continued efforts. I'm looking forward to the race."
Tom Brown, the team's Technical Director, is proud of the team's efforts. "I have to thank this crew for sticking it out this week. It has been one of the toughest weeks we've ever had. The car itself has been really good and the guys didn't give up on anything. They came in every day and gave 110% and I'm proud of them. Really proud of them."
Keith Wiggins, Lotus HVM Team Owner, was honest in his assessment of the team's situation. "To be honest," he said, "we're happy to be in and under the circumstances we're grateful that there's only 33 cars. Right now we've got some work to do. We've just got to focus on the race and make sure that next year we come back with much improved power."