THREE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY DRIVERS QUALIFY IN THE TOP 12 FOR SUNDAY'S INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA Rookie Sato Paces The Team With a Firestone Fast Six Performance BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Only in his third race in the IZOD IndyCar Series, rookie...
THREE KV RACING TECHNOLOGY DRIVERS QUALIFY IN THE TOP 12 FOR SUNDAY'S INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
Rookie Sato Paces The Team With a Firestone Fast Six Performance
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Only in his third race in the IZOD IndyCar Series, rookie Takumo Sato proved Saturday that he will be a top contender in Sunday's inaugural 75-lap Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the sensational Barber Motorsports Park.
Sato, driving the No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, made the prestigious Firestone Fast Six qualifying final Saturday and will start sixth in the 25-car field on the 2.38-mile 17-turn road circuit east of Birmingham.
Sato, a Formula One veteran, was impressive in the first two qualifying sessions before the 10-minute Fast Six Final run for the pole position. In the first 20-minute time trial, Sato clocked in second overall at one minute, 10.3925 seconds to move to the Q2 round. In the second session, Sato recorded the fifth best at 1:10.5646 to advance to the Fast Six.
In the Fast Six, the Lotus driver jumped to the fifth position in the hotter conditions with a 1:11.4387, and finished sixth at the checkered flag.
For the first time this year, all three KV Racing Technology drivers (Sato, E.J. Viso and Mario Moraes) qualified in the Top 12. With Sato in sixth, Viso drove his No. 8 PDVSA -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car to 10th position Saturday and Moraes took 12th in the No. 32 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine.
Series point leader Will Power won the pole position with a 1:10.1356 time, followed by Mike Conway, Helio Castroneves, Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon and Sato.
Both Viso and Moraes made tremendous gains with their cars on Saturday after suffering through a frustrating Friday practice when they were 20th and 21st on the grid.
TAKUMA SATO, #5 LOTUS - KVRT HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Qualified 6th: "It was fantastic for us to put the Lotus-KV Racing Technology car into the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session today. Friday was productive and then we moved right into qualifying this morning without any practice. The car was comfortable. We were confident that it would be strong in qualifying. We went through Q1 and Q2 and made it into the Fast Six for the first time. That is a great feeling. We have made very good progress and have a chance to do well in the race tomorrow. My first ever test in an Indy car was here so to come back and put the car on the third row is very satisfying."
E.J. VISO, #8 PDVSA -- KVRT HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Qualified 10th: "Today was a big improvement for the KV Racing team. A top-10 in qualifying is not a bad recovery after the tough day we had in practice yesterday. I have to say the grid in the IZOD IndyCar Series is so competitive that just one tenth of a second is worth four or five places. We still need to do some work on the car, but after today I am confident we can make some changes that will help in the race. It is going to be a long race and it will be difficult to overtake. I think the most important thing will be to not make any mistakes and just stay on the track."
MARIO MORAES, No. 32 KVRT HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Qualified 12th:
"The KV Racing Technology engineers came up with a change that really improved the car from yesterday to today. That made all the difference in qualifying. I think we could have done a little better, but overall it was a good qualifying. It is my best of the season. We just have to keep working on the car and improve it some more for the race."
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