CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Rocketsports Racing Saturday report

PASTORELLI EARNS BEST QUALIFYING POSTION AS THE TEAM CONTINUES TO FIND SPEED IN PORTLAND PORTLAND, Oregon (June 17, 2006) - Balance is the issue here in Portland; finding a good car set-up is critical to finding the speed needed on the demanding...

PASTORELLI EARNS BEST QUALIFYING POSTION AS THE TEAM CONTINUES TO FIND SPEED IN PORTLAND

PORTLAND, Oregon (June 17, 2006) - Balance is the issue here in Portland; finding a good car set-up is critical to finding the speed needed on the demanding 1.969-mile permanent road course at Portland International Raceway and Rocketsports Racing continues to close the gap with its drivers Nicky Pastorelli and Tonis Kasemets.

Both cars headed out for final qualifying this afternoon to determine their starting positions in tomorrow's G.I. Joe's Presents The Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland, as Pastorelli was in search for his best qualifying effort this season and Kasemets was looking to take his first shot at qualifying as he prepares to make his Champ Car debut.

Pastorelli broke the one-minute marker around the 10-turn course this afternoon on his tenth lap out in qualifying. The next two laps would see him continue to improve his speed and position in the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car, as he ended his day after posting his best time of the weekend of 58.826 seconds (120.192 mph) and sat in the tenth spot. With a few minutes left in the qualifying session, while the Italo-Dutch driver was on the sidelines, he lost one position to another driver who went just a little faster than him. He will start 11th on the grid for Round Five of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. Pastorelli's qualifying position today marked his best effort and starting position in his Champ Car career, as he prepares to make his fourth Champ Car start tomorrow.

Kasemets continues to learn the demands o f the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car and the PIR road course this weekend. Making the move up from the Atlantic cars to a Champ Car is a rather big one, and it is a learning experience non-the-less. He continues to have a positive attitude and the determination to work with his engineers and crew members to solve the issues that are at hand. He improved his times, showing a positive progression with the car and team over the last couple of days here in Portland. He ran his best time of 1:00.607 (116.660 mph) on his fifth lap out this afternoon during the qualifying session, and will make his first start in a Champ Car in the 18th spot.

The day is not done for the team yet, as a Warm-Up session is scheduled to take place this evening at 5:30 p.m. local time. The race is scheduled for a green flag start tomorrow early afternoon at 12:30 p.m. PST. The race can be seen Live on CBS with coverage beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Quotes

Nicky Pastorelli #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone "The balance was much better on the #8 Bavaria City Racing/Rocketsports car this afternoon. We were faster during qualifying on the Bridgestone Potenza Red Tires, which had more grip and also helped improve the overall balance of the car. We are getting very close to where we want to be. We have done a lot of work, and I want to thank the Rocketsports team for all their efforts. I think that we have a good car for the race tomorrow. I feel pretty positive about the race and believe that we can get a top-ten finish this weekend. It is going to be a very interesting and very long race, so we will have to wait and see what will happen, plan some good race-strategy and I think everything will come together when it counts the most - during the race."

Tonis Kasemets #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Br idgestone "We are making small improvements. I think that things are still going ok and according to plan. The Rocketsports team and I would like to be faster, but we are still searching for what I like (with the car) and I am still searching for the limits of the #18 Flexovit Abrasives/Rocketsports car. We have to be realistic, this is my first race weekend and there is a lot that has to be learned and that is exactly what we are doing. We will keep working on making changes to suit my driving style and hope to gain some more speed in the Warm-Up session, then we will see what we can do in the race."

-rocketsports racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tonis Kasemets , Nicky Pastorelli