PKV RACING'S VASSER SEEKS FIRST 2005 VICTORY DA MATTA LOOKING TO REGAIN FORM AT WEST EDMONTON MALL GRAND PRIX OF EDMONTON INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JULY 12, 2005 - - PKV Racing's Jimmy Vasser will be seeking his first victory of the season while...
PKV RACING'S VASSER SEEKS FIRST 2005 VICTORY
DA MATTA LOOKING TO REGAIN FORM AT WEST EDMONTON MALL GRAND PRIX OF EDMONTON
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JULY 12, 2005 - - PKV Racing's Jimmy Vasser will be seeking his first victory of the season while teammate Cristiano da Matta will be looking to regain the form that saw him score the first win in team history when the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Presented by Ford season resumes this weekend at the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton at Finning International Speedway, which is located at City Center Airport, in Edmonton, Canada.
A win for Vasser and his #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine in Edmonton would project the talented native of California into the heart of the 2005 championship battle. The 1996 Series Champion currently stands sixth in the championship race with 105 points following a season high fourth place showing last weekend in Toronto. He trails series leader Sebastien Bourdais by 45 points and is just 30 points, or one victory, out of second place.
"PKV Racing, obviously, has never raced on the circuit in Edmonton, so I don't know much about it," Vasser said. "However, even though it will be our first experience at Edmonton the circuit does seem more like some of the tracks that we have done well on this year. I am looking forward to racing in Edmonton and getting some more championship points--and hopefully, my first win of the season," he noted. Vasser went on to say, "The PKV Racing team is making progress. We are not where we want to be just yet, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The whole PKV Racing team has worked very hard and we are determined to develop the on-track consistency it takes to be champions."
Vasser has had several solid performances this year. He has finished in the top-10 in five of the six races including four consecutive top-six performances coming into the Edmonton race. Vasser opened the season with a ninth place showing at Long Beach, finished 14th in Monterrey then, after taking the first pole in team history at Milwaukee, went on to finish fifth in Milwaukee, sixth in both Portland and Cleveland and fourth in Toronto. He has qualified in the top-10 in five consecutive races and five of the six events this year including the pole at Milwaukee.
The 39-year-old resident of Las Vegas, NV, who is competing in his 14th Champ Car season, will be making his 225th career start this weekend which will extend his record of consecutive starts to 204. Vasser has finished 140 of his last 180 races and placed in the top-10 in 128 of his 224 events including 64 top-five showings. He is the only owner/driver, one of four former champions and three Americans competing in the 2005 Champ Car World Series.
Da Matta, who had his #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car as high as fifth in the championship race following his victory in Portland, currently sits eighth in the standings with 84 points. The personable Brazilian, who spent the last two years competing in Formula 1, started the season with three top-10 showings in the first four races including the win in Portland. At Cleveland he looked ready to jumped into the thick of the battle for the championship after earning a season high second place starting position, his first front row start since Australia in 2002, and then taking a substantial lead over the field in the race, when an incident with rookie Marcus Marshall ended his day. In Toronto he succumbed to a similar fate. Running in eighth place and headed for a possible top-five showing, da Matta was hit by rookie Ricardo Sperafico, who was exiting the pits, knocking both drivers from the contest.
"First, and most important, after two weekends of not finishing a race and getting very few championship points, I am looking forward to finishing the race in Edmonton," da Matta said. "I have a good feeling that the Bell Micro/PKV Racing car will be better in Edmonton than it was in Toronto. Even thought we haven't been there before, from what we know from our preparation work, it should be a track that suits our setup better than other street courses and that will help with qualifying. The track seems more similar to the road courses so the PKV Racing team should be on the pace and fighting for the pole," he explained. "I am very confident heading into this race," da Matta concluded.
Da Matta, who is contesting his fifth Champ Car season, will be making his 86th career start this weekend. The 31-year-old resident of Miami, FL has qualified in the top-10 at all six events this year including twice in the top five (the second in Cleveland and fourth in Milwaukee) and has finished in the top-10 in three of the six races. The 2002 Series Champion is one of four former champions and three Brazilians competing in the series.
After the first five races of the 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series season, PKV Racing has already established a number of team records. Da Matta scored the team's first victory in their two plus year history in Portland while Vasser earned the team's first pole in round #3 at Milwaukee. The two drivers have combined to set team records for best combined qualifying, first and fourth at Milwaukee and best combined finish, first and sixth at Portland. They have both qualified in the top-10 in five consecutive races for the first time in team history. Da Matta and Vasser have finished in the top-10 in the same race twice (eighth and 10th at Long Beach and first and sixth at Portland) this year and at least one of them has placed in the top-six in each of the last five races, which is also a team record.
The West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix of Edmonton, July 15-17, on the temporary street circuit at Finning International Speedway, which is located at City Center Airport, will be televised live on SPEED Channel beginning at 3:00 p.m. (ET).