Panther Duo Claims Fifth Row at Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete Meira 9th, Matsuura 10th as Panther Team Continues Title Chase ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 31, 2007) -- Delphi Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira made significant improvements over his...
Panther Duo Claims Fifth Row at Honda Grand Prix of St. Pete
Meira 9th, Matsuura 10th as Panther Team Continues Title Chase
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 31, 2007) -- Delphi Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira made significant improvements over his practices from yesterday to qualify ninth for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Panasonic Panther driver Kosuke Matsuura is just behind his Brazilian teammate, in tenth position, his best career start in a Panther car. Panther's drivers will account for the fifth row of tomorrow's event.
Meira's top lap was 102.088 mph, 63.4749 seconds. Matsuura was just a tick behind his teammate with a quick lap of 101.986 mph, 63.5381 seconds.
Vitor has finished fifth place in both his starts at St. Pete, and in both events he climbed from a 12th place starting position. Matsuura finished seventh on the Streets of St. Pete last year, his best career finish at the Florida street course.
The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live tomorrow on ESPN at 2:30 p.m., with additional coverage provided by XM IndyCar Series Racing Channel 145 and XM Sports Nation Channel 144.
Mutoh finishes Second in First Indy Pro Series Event of Weekend
Super Aguri Panther driver Hideki Mutoh finished second place in his second start in the Indy Pro Series. Mutoh, who started fourth, quickly moved up one position in the first turn of the event and was able to work his way up another position for his second podium result in as many starts.
He now ranks second in the chase for the series championship. The Panther team has finished on the podium in ten of its 13 career starts in the series.
This was the first road course event on the schedule for the series, and the field will return tomorrow afternoon for the final race of the weekend. After overcoming a mechanical failure during qualifications, the Panther Pro Series team was able to get the No. 55 car back on track and into the front of the field. The top six finishing positions from today's race will be inverted for the event tomorrow, meaning Mutoh will start from fifth place, on the inside of the third row.
"Getting the car right here takes a combination of things. We're working on it and we still have some work to do, but we're getting there. Every time we go out we get better and better. I know the Delphi Panther car is going to be great tomorrow, and that's what really matters."
"Until the free practice this morning, our balance was really good. But later in the afternoon, the temperature went up and we lost some mechanical grip. The car was sliding a lot. We're confident going into tomorrow. It's going to be a long race and take of lot of work but I think that the Panasonic team is going to do really well."
"My car was really good. It's a little bit disappointing that I couldn't catch Alex, but I still have tomorrow. I have much experience on road courses, I was not worried about driving this street course today, so I like it. There were so many people here and it's so much fun to drive."