Vitor Meira Set to Start 10th at Belle Isle; Matsuura 14th Panther Drivers Look to Climb Back Into Top Ten Finishes DETROIT, Mich. (Sept. 1, 2007) -- Panther Racing drivers Vitor Meira and Kosuke Matsuura hope to duplicate their performance...
Vitor Meira Set to Start 10th at Belle Isle; Matsuura 14th
Panther Drivers Look to Climb Back Into Top Ten Finishes
DETROIT, Mich. (Sept. 1, 2007) -- Panther Racing drivers Vitor Meira and Kosuke Matsuura hope to duplicate their performance from last weekend's road course, when the tandem ran nose-to-tail for a majority of the race and finished inside the Top Ten.
This weekend, in the Detroit Indy Grand Prix at the Raceway at Belle Isle, Meira will start in tenth position with Matsuura just two rows behind in the fourteenth qualifying position. In the Infineon Raceway event last weekend, Meira finished in ninth and Matsuura in 10th and the teammates hope they can work together again tomorrow to move up the field.
Meira has been especially strong in practice this week, and his No. 4 Delphi car has been among the top drivers in the practice sessions. But with limited time on the temporary street course circuit and Vitor having never raced here, changes to the car have been difficult. Despite shooting to make the Firestone Fast Six, Panther's Brazilian is confident his team is ahead of where they were a week ago and able to make a climb in the race.
Tomorrow will be Meira's 30th start with Panther, tying him with Scott Goodyear for third on Panther's all-time list, behind Sam Hornish Jr. (44 starts) and Tomas Scheckter (33). This season Meira has collected three Top Five and 10 Top Ten results.
Matsuura has continued to battle with a few mechanical issues, and his No. 55 car has transitioned from being loose -- as it was in Sonoma -- to having a lot of understeer. Despite the handling, Kosuke was able to claim his second Top Ten on road course events, and was just shy of matching his eighth-place effort in Watkins Glen. Matsuura has amassed four Top Ten finishes this season, including a fourth place effort at Michigan that equaled his career best.
The Detroit Indy Grand Prix will be held Sunday at 3:30 p.m., and will be broadcast live on ABC with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.
"We're working to improve on our deficiencies. It's always tough on street courses; you just never feel like you have enough time and there are lots of changes you wish you could make. This track is still very bumpy, but I hear it's much better than it was when Indy-cars used to race here. We always want to be better, and we always want to get the most out of the car. But, again, we are still better now than we were this time last weekend."
"I expected more than this result in qualifying today. We had a mechanical problem yesterday but we've been able to fix that. At first we had much oversteer but now there is a quite a bit of understeer in the car. I think we will figure it out. The race itself is a another thing. I think there will be a lot of yellow and we can play with strategy. I think we can get into the Top Ten."