PKV RACING'S TRISTAN GOMMENDY PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES THIRD FOR BAVARIA CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX PKV Racing's Tristan Gommendy provisionally qualified second while teammate Neel Jani is 11th on the grid for Sunday's Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix in...
PKV RACING'S TRISTAN GOMMENDY PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES THIRD FOR BAVARIA CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX
PKV Racing's Tristan Gommendy provisionally qualified second while teammate Neel Jani is 11th on the grid for Sunday's Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix in Assen, Holland.
Gommendy, #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car, who once again showed that he is a master in the rain, qualified with a fast lap of 91.674 seconds (111.133 mph) on the wet and very slick 2.83-mile, 14-turn TT Assen Circuit permanent road course. Jani, #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone entry, had a qualifying time of 93.043 seconds (109.498 mph)
Gommendy started and ended the day among the fastest cars on the track. During a dry morning practice he posted the sixth fastest lap recording a quick time of 80.566 seconds (126.455 mph). In the 15-minute afternoon practice/warm-up, also run under dry conditions, Gommendy again logged the sixth fastest time posting a lap of 80.895 seconds (125.941 mph). However, just prior to qualifying, a slight drizzle developed and while it never reached a full downpour the continuous and steady heavy mist forced the teams to quickly switch to wet setups. Shod in Bridgestone rain tires, Gommendy, who has shown on a couple of occasions, in particular at Portland International Raceway earlier this year, that he is a cut above when it comes to driving in the rain, went out for his first stint with 27 minutes remaining in the 30-minute qualifying session. One lap into the stint a red flag fell. Qualifying resumed seven minutes later with the drizzle beginning to diminish and track conditions improving. Gommendy ran six more laps and on the last lap of the stint he posted a time of 91.994 seconds, which put him second on the speed charts at the time. After pitting for new rain tires, Gommendy was back on track with eight minutes to go and the rain, once again, increasing. As the conditions worsened and fearing that he would spin and cause a red flag, thus negating his quick time, Gommendy came back in. After some discussion with team, Gommendy returned to the track, now third on the speed charts, to work on his rain setup. The move proved fortuitous as in the waning moments of the session the rain again diminished and track conditions again improved allowing Gommendy to turn his fast lap on the third of the stint and 12th overall.
"The Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing team did a good job with the dry setup and we were ready for a dry qualification," Gommendy began. "For sure in the dry we would have been in the top-five," he noted. "However, just before the qualification it started raining. So, the crew put on the rain setup and right from the beginning I started pushing the car. I think I did quite a good lap early in the session when the track was drying a little. I think it would have been possible to fight for the pole or at least second, but I was surprised by how quickly the track was drying, so I was late going for my fastest lap. Overall, it was a good qualification."
Jani started the morning practice running in the top-three, but then slipped back as the team began to work on the setup and experiment with some changes. By the end of the morning session he was ninth on the practice report with a quick lap of 80.813 seconds (126.069 mph). During the 15-minute warm-up, Jani was back in the top-three clocking a time of 80.496 seconds (126.565 mph) and appeared ready to challenge for the pole. However, in qualifying, circumstances prevented him from duplicating his dry performance. Jani recorded his fastest time of the session on the fifth of a seven lap first stint. And then, feeling that the conditions were deteriorating came in after only two laps of the second stint.
"In qualifying, on the first set of tires I burned them up quite quickly, so I came in for a second set," Jani said. "I went out again and the rain had gotten heavier and I thought there was no sense in wasting the set of tires because the track was getting slower. But, then the last two laps, the last minute of the session, it started to get dry again and that is where some of the guys improved their time. It was a misjudgment on my part. I just thought it would keep drizzling and I wouldn't be able to go any faster. So, we will just have to see what happens for the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing team tomorrow."