PKV RACING LOOKING TO BUILD ON MOMENTUM OF SEASON'S FIRST PODIUM INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JUNE 28, 2007 - - PKV Racing drivers Neel Jani and Tristan Gommendy will both be looking to build on the momentum of the team's first podium of the 2007...
PKV RACING LOOKING TO BUILD ON MOMENTUM OF SEASON'S FIRST PODIUM
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JUNE 28, 2007 - - PKV Racing drivers Neel Jani and Tristan Gommendy will both be looking to build on the momentum of the team's first podium of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, achieved when Jani placed third last weekend in Cleveland, when they return to the track at the inaugural Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant, June 29 -- July 1, at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in St. Jovite, Quebec, Canada.
This weekend's race is the first of three straight in Canada and the second of a grueling five races in six weeks that will determine whether PKV Racing can contend for a top spot in the 2007 season ending standings.
Jani, a Champ Car rookie who is behind the wheel of the #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, is currently ninth in the championship standings, fourth in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race, with 69 points, but just nine points out of sixth place. The talented and determined 23-year-old is coming off his best performance of the season and the first podium finish of the year for PKV Racing, a third place finish, last weekend in Cleveland. Jani has finished in the top-10 three times in the first five races this season. In addition to the third in Cleveland, he was seventh at Long Beach despite a fueling problem and 10th at the season opener in Las Vegas, where he was the victim of a mechanical problem. In Houston, after qualifying fourth he was running in fourth when he was knocked from the competition and placed 15th. Then two weeks ago in Portland, when Champ Car first used the new standing start, he got a strong start and was running eighth, but fuel mileage problems forced him to pit early and he ended up 12th. Jani has qualified in the top-10 in three of the five races this year starting a team/season high fourth at Houston, ninth in his debut at Las Vegas and 10th in Portland (11th here in Cleveland and in Long Beach). He is sixth in both laps completed (392 out of a possible 431) and miles completed (790.667 out of a possible 865.669). A native of Jens, Switzerland, whose father hails from India, Jani has been a member of the Red Bull driver development program since 2005 and was the test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula One Team in 2006.
"I am looking forward to the race in Mont-Tremblant," Jani said. "The Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing team earned its first podium of the season last week in Cleveland, so, of course, I want to get back to racing as soon as possible and try to build on that result. We have competed for podium finishes a couple of times this year and for one reason or another we did not make it. To get our first podium just shows that the hard work we have been putting in is paying off," he noted. "Unfortunately for me I was not able to test in Mont-Tremblant, so this will be my first time on the circuit. PKV Racing had a good test there with Tristan and we learned quite a bit, so I think we will have a good baseline setup"
Gommendy, who like his teammate is a Champ Car rookie, has the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car in 12th place in the standings, fifth in the rookie race, with 64 points. He is just four points out of 10th place, 14 out of sixth, and in the thick of a seven car battle for spots six through 12. Gommendy has finished in the top-10 twice in the five races this year placing a season high fifth in Las Vegas and seventh in Portland, where late race traffic thwarted a top-five finish. The talented 27-year-old Frenchman is coming off a 13th place showing in Cleveland, where a off-track excursion and crash nullified what was beginning to look like a solid top-10 finish. Gommendy has also finished 11th at Long Beach and 13th at Houston , but in both those races he more than held his own while engaging in spirited battles for the lead with three-time Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais before having to make late race stops for a splash of fuel. The personable native of Paris, France has earned three top-10 starting spots already this season; ninth in Long Beach, eighth in Houston and a season high fifth in Portland where he was the fastest driver in the rain on Saturday, but lost a front row spot when he skidded off-track bringing out a red flag (started 11th in his Champ Car debut in Las Vegas to go with today 12th place starting position). Gommendy, a veteran of European open wheel racing having won the 2002 Formula 3 France championship and 2002 Formula 3 Macau GP, is fifth in laps led (31) and eighth in both laps (367) and miles (734.411) completed.
Commenting on the upcoming race Gommendy said, "The Pay By Touch MegaSpirea team had a difficult race in Cleveland, so I am looking forward to a better result in Mont-Tremblant. The team had a very good test in Mont-Tremblant at the end of May. We did a lot of development work and collected a lot of data. By the end of the test I was the third fastest, so I thing we can have a very good race this weekend."
The inaugural Grand Prix of Mont-Tremblant, Round #6 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, will be held, June 29 -- July 1, at Circuit Mont-Tremblant in St. Jovite, Quebec, Canada. The race will be televised live on ESPN at 2:00 p.m. (ET).
PKV Racing Wins Sherwin-Williams "It's All in the Finish" Award:
PKV Racing came out of Cleveland a double winner. In addition to scoring their first podium finish of the season the team swept the top two spots in the Sherwin-Williams "It's All in the Finish" competition, which rewards the Champ Car team with the best overall appearance. The #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing car, driven by Gommendy and managed by Crew Chief Greg Senerius, finished first while the #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing car, piloted by Jani and run by Crew Chief Don Oldenburg, placed second in the competition. The award pays $10,000.