DETROIT, Mi. – June 1, 2012 – Heavy rain limited track time during the first practice, however KV Racing Technology drivers Tony Kanaan, Rubens Barrichello and E. J. Viso all got in a full second session late in the afternoon of the first day of practice in preparation for Sunday’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on the Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan.
Kanaan, in the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, led the way for KVRT with a lap of 73.3012 seconds (101.663 mph) on the challenging 2.1-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit placing him fifth on the day’s practice report. Barrichello, driving the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, recorded a lap of 74.2174 seconds (100.408 mph) placing him 15th on the speed charts while Viso, who pilots the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, posted a time of 74.7174 seconds (99.736 mph) good for 19th place. Not surprisingly, all three recorded their fastest laps during the second practice which was run under overcast skies, but a dry track.
Kanaan turned just one “installation” lap in the first practice and 18 in the second. Using only one set of tires in the second session, he was at the top of the speed charts for much of the second session, but when other drivers changed to a second set of tires he dropped to fifth. Kanaan is competing on Belle Isle for the fifth time (twice in both the CART and IndyCar series). He has qualified and finished in the top-eight every time with a best starting position of fourth and a win both in 2007 (placed third in 2008). In 2000, Kanaan suffered the worst accident of his career, breaking his arm in qualifying missing four races.
"It is nice to be back on track at Belle Isle,” Kanaan said. “We only did an installation lap in the first session, but ran a full second session. The car felt good right out of the box and we only did small changes during the session. I'm looking forward to a good qualifying tomorrow as that is very important here."
The 37-year-old Brazilian has been the victim of some bad luck this year, including having his car shut down on the first lap at St. Petersburg. However, he has earned two top-four finishes in the first five races this season placing fourth at Long Beach and an exciting third placing showing last week in the Indianapolis 500 (was also 13th at Brazil), and is now ninth in the championship race with 113 points.
Barrichello, who is making his Belle Isle debut, ran the most laps of the KVRT trio in the first practice session logging seven as he began to familiarize himself with the circuit. He added another 23 for a total of 30 giving him valuable track time.
Commenting on today’s practice Barrichello said, “I ran some laps in the wet and the dry today. It was good to get to know the place and I'm thankful that it got drier towards the end. I still don't know the place but at least running in the dry gave me a better idea, so we will see how tomorrow goes.”
Barrichello is coming off an 11th place finish in his Indy 500 debut which earned him Chase Rookie of the Year honors. The 40-year-old Brazilian, who spent the last 19 years competing in Formula One, opened his first IndyCar season with a 17th place finish at St. Petersburg, then put together three consecutive top-10 finishes (Barber, eighth; Long Beach, ninth; Brazil, 10th) before the 11th place showing at Indy. He is 11th in the standings with 102 points,
Viso also turned just one installation lap in the first session, but ran 14 laps in the second, the fewest of the KVRT trio. The 27-year-old Venezuelan is making his second appearance here on Belle Isle. In 2008, he qualified ninth and finished 24th.
“We got a limited number of laps today during the first practice due to the excessive rain,” Viso said. “For the second practice it was a little overcast, however it was dry. Unfortunately, the route we took with the car setup didn’t work out the way we wanted. We know what we need to address for the rest of the weekend and we will work on it overnight for tomorrow’s practice and qualifying”
Viso, who had his best starting position, ninth, in five Indy 500 starts, but developed a sever vibration in the race and finished 18th, has earned two top-10 finishes in the first five races this year (eighth at St. Petersburg and 10th at Brazil) along with a 12th place finish at Long Beach. He has finished every race this season and is 17th in the championship standings with 94 points.
In today’s first practice which was conducted on a very wet track with rain failing Barrichello posted a time of 88.4739 seconds (83.878 mph) placing him second of the 11 drivers to do more than an installation lap.