PKV RACING QUALIFIES BOTH CARS IN TOP-10 FOR EIGHTH TIME IN 10 RACES DA MATTA TO START EIGHTH, VASSER NINTH MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA -- SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2005 -- Round ...
PKV RACING QUALIFIES BOTH CARS IN TOP-10 FOR EIGHTH TIME IN 10 RACES
DA MATTA TO START EIGHTH, VASSER NINTH
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA -- SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2005 -- Round #10 -- 2005 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing qualified both cars in the top-10 for the eighth time in 10 races this year as Cristiano da Matta qualified eighth and teammate Jimmy Vasser ninth for tomorrow's Molson Indy Montreal at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Da Matta's fast lap in the #21 Bell Micro/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car was 81.623 seconds (119.481 mph). He will start on outside of Row #4. Meanwhile, Vasser drove the #12 Gulfstream/PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry to a quick time of 81.794 seconds (119.231 mph) and will start on the inside of Row #5.
Da Matta began the day fifth on the grid following yesterday's provisional qualifying with a quick lap of 82.492 seconds (118.222 mph). In morning practice the Bell Micro/PKV Racing team experimented with some changes in search of additional speed. The team was able to improve their time, if not their position, by turning a quick time of 82.638 seconds (118.014 mph) putting da Matta eighth on both the individual and combined practice reports. In the 15 minute afternoon warm-up prior to qualifying da Matta went and to shakedown the car, but still managed to run his fastest practice time of the weekend with a lap of 82.428 seconds (118.314 second) placing him ninth on the practice report for the session and 10th on the combined report. However, the improvements in time and speed in practice and qualifying did not translate into positions as da Matta dropped three places, but only one row on tomorrow's starting grid.
"Overall, I guess I have to say I am disappointed with the way the Bell Micro/PKV Racing team qualified today," said da Matta. "We did not make any progress versus the other cars from yesterday to today's final qualifying, so I lost some positions on the grid," he noted. "I am starting on the fourth row, so it is not like I am at the back of the grid. We can race from the fourth row, it is harder, but we can do it. However, the PKV Racing team needs to go over all the data and see what we can come up with to make the cars better for the race," da Matta concluded.
Da Matta who is in his fifth Champ Car season, will be making his 89th career start, tenth for PKV Racing and second in Montreal tomorrow. He has now qualified in the top-10 in nine of the 10 events this year missing out only in San Jose. His best starting position is a second in Cleveland followed by a fourth in Milwaukee and a fifth in Edmonton. The resident of Miami FL has now qualified in the top-10 in both attempts at Montreal with a pole in 2002. He finished second in that inaugural event.
Da Matta, who has been as high as fifth in the championship, will be attempting to snap a streak of five consecutive DNF's, which have dropped him to has 11th in the championship standings with 102 points. He has placed in the top-10 in four of the nine races contested this year including a victory in Portland, the first in PKV Racing's two-plus year history. Da Matta is third in laps led this season with 71.
Vasser was sixth on the provisional grid coming into today's qualifying with a fast lap of 82.559 seconds (118.126 mph). In morning practice he, like his teammate, showed improvement in his time recording his fastest practice lap of the weekend and the sixth fastest of the session with a time of 82.333 seconds (118.451 mph). The 39-year-old Californian actually turned in a lap in the high 81's, which would have put him second on the speed charts, but had it nullified when da Matta slide off into the gravel bringing out a red flag moments before Vasser crossed the timing stripe. In the afternoon warm-up Vasser's quick lap came in at 82.481 seconds (118.238 mph) placing him 10th on the individual practice report for the session. He ended up ninth on the combined report based on his morning time. In final qualifying, Vasser also lost positions despite a gain in speed dropping three places and two rows.
"I am disappointed with today's qualifying," Vasser said. "The Gulfstream/PKV Racing team made progress in every session this weekend, even in final qualifying, but I guess we did not make as much progress as I though we had," he noted. "It isn't anything I can put my finger on right now. Cristiano (teammate Cristiano da Matta) and I are just going to have to sit down with the PKV Racing engineers, analyze the data and see what improvements we can make for race," Vasser explained. "If we can make some improvements and have good pit stops I believe we can have a good race tomorrow," he concluded.
Vasser, who is competing in his 14th Champ Car season, will be making his 228th career start this weekend, which will extend his record of consecutive starts to 207. He has qualified in the top-10 in nine consecutive races and nine of the 10 events this year including capturing the first pole in PKV Racing's history, at Milwaukee. This will be Vasser's fourth start in Montreal. He has now qualified in the top-10 three times with a best starting position of sixth in 2002. He has finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of fifth also in 2002.
Vasser is coming off three consecutive races in which he has had to overcome adversity and persevere to score valuable championship points. The resident of Las Vegas, NV has finished in the top-10 in five of the nine races this year with two top-five showings, a season high fourth in Toronto and a fifth in Milwaukee. Vasser is fifth in laps completed with 849 (out of a total of 938) and eighth in laps led with 27. He is tied for seventh in the championship standings with 131points.
PKV Racing will be making its fourth and fifth starts while competing in its third race in Montreal tomorrow. Today's qualifying effort are the two best in five attempts by the team. The previous best starting position was 11th by Vasser in 2004. They have finished in the top-10 in all three of their previous starts with a best finish of eighth also by Vasser in 2004 (Papis, ninth in 2003 and Gonzalez, 10th in 2004).