Conquest Racing's Franck Perera to Start Tenth in St. Petersburg Enrique Bernoldi 18th on the grid St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 5, 2008) - The new qualifying system put in place for the IndyCar Series made for an exciting qualifying session ...
Conquest Racing's Franck Perera to Start Tenth in St. Petersburg
Enrique Bernoldi 18th on the grid
St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 5, 2008) - The new qualifying system put in place for the IndyCar Series made for an exciting qualifying session for Conquest Racing with rookie driver Franck Perera fighting for a spot in the Firestone Fast Six. In the end, the Frenchman didn't make it to the final round but "Fearless" Franck did score a top-ten start in his first street course qualifying session in the IndyCar Series. His teammate Enrique Bernoldi locked up an 18th spot on tomorrow's starting grid for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg .
Perera, a 24 year-old rookie and Bernoldi were both part of the first group of drivers to qualify. The pair was vying for a spot in the top six in order to make it to the second round of competition. Getting caught up in some traffic, Bernoldi was unable to make it to Round 2 as he ranked eighth in his group with a time of 1:03.4568. As for Perera, he spent the first part of the session outside of the top six but put in a quick lap of 1:03.1453 in the last minutes of the 20-minute session to jump up to fourth in his group and move on to Round 2.
In the second round of qualifying, Perera was fighting once again for a place within the top six, getting as close as seventh with only a few minutes to go. Unfortunately his lap of 1:02.8749 ended up placing him a respectful 10th.
10th - Franck Perera #34 Conquest Racing Dallara/ Honda/ Firestone Round 2: 1:02.8749 (103.062 mph)
"It was a tough qualifying but very exciting to have this type of qualifying like Formula 1. It's really good to be in the top ten with the short preparation we had and Conquest did again a good job. It's just a shame that we didn't get into the top six but it was difficult with the conditions to have the perfect lap, but this result is still very good. I think we have the car to move up the field during the race tomorrow. It will be my first race in a car with this much horsepower and I am really looking forward to it."
18th - Enrique Bernoldi #36 Sangari Dallara/Honda/Firestone Round 1: 1:03.4568 (102.117 mph)
"It went better today. I was just unlucky because of the yellow flags. I didn't manage to do enough laps on my second set of tires and there was a lot of traffic out there and they just wouldn't move even if they were slower. It was really bad. For the race tomorrow it will be tough considering my starting position but I will do the best I can, get to the end and do some overtaking."
Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing owner:
"We were hoping for a bit more speed in qualifying today but all considered we had an honorable performance today. We tend to forget that this is Franck's first qualifying session and race not only in the IndyCar Series but at this level of open-wheel competition and he is doing an amazing job. I feel we have to give more time to Enrique to extract all the potential out of the car because he has been out of open-wheel racing for a couple of years. We are looking forward to a good race and to keep on building up and acquiring more experience in this Series. The new qualifying format is very good and I hope the fans will like it."