KV RACING TECHNOLOGY– LOTUS 10th, 12th and 22nd
AFTER FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
LEEDS, AL – APRIL 8, 2011 -- KV Racing Technology – Lotus drivers Takuma Sato, E. J. Viso and Tony Kanaan were 10th, 12th and 22nd respectively on the combined speed charts after the first day of practice for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, to be held Sunday, April 10, at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Alabama.
Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology - Lotus, took team honors with a fast lap of 73.4474 seconds (112.734 mph) on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber permanent road circuit. Viso, No. 59 PDVSA - KV Racing Technology - Lotus, recorded a lap of 73.7680 seconds (112.244 mph), while Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus posted a time of 74.2371 seconds (111.535 mph). Sato and Viso ran their quick laps during the second of two practices today. Kanaan recorded his in the first session.
Sato, from Japan, is coming off the best finish of his 18-race IZOD IndyCar Series career, a fifth at the season opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The Formula 1 veteran, who is in his second IndyCar season, has been extremely competitive on permanent road circuits since joining the series. Last year, he made the Firestone Fast Six, the final round of road/street course qualifying, three times all on permanent road circuits including qualifying sixth here at Barber (fifth at Watkins Glen and season high third at Mid-Ohio). Unfortunately, his inaugural visit to Barber was marred by a mechanical problem and he finished 25th.
“It was a difficult, but productive day,” Sato said. “We learned a couple of things from the last test and came here this weekend with a different philosophy, which seems to be starting to work. We collected valuable data today, but we have a lot of work to do to improve the car and we need to put everything together for tomorrow.”
Viso, who is contesting his fourth IndyCar season, second with KVRT - Lotus and first in the Lotus livery, is also making his second appearance at Barber. Last year, the young Venezuelan started 10th and finished 16th.
We have a lot of work to do to improve the car and we need to put everything together for tomorrow.
Commenting on his day Viso said, “It’s been a mixed day. In the first practice session we made a lot of changes and little by little we made progress. Unfortunately the session was cut short because of the rain. The second session, I felt the car was much better, however despite a good entry into turn one, my exit was too fast and I found the tire wall. Qualifying here is very important because it’s hard to overtake, so I am hoping for a good result tomorrow.”
Kanaan, who finished on the podium in his KVRT – Lotus debut with a third place finish in St. Petersburg, is making his first appearance at Barber since last year’s race having missed the Open Test in March. The native of Brazil and 2004 IndyCar Series Champion, who joined the team just six days before the season opener, is entering his 14th season of major U. S. based open–wheel competition and 10th in the IndyCar Series. Kanaan will be attempting to qualify for his 133rd consecutive IndyCar race tomorrow, the longest streak of any active driver (Scott Sharp holds the series record with 138 and KVRT – Lotus co-owner Jimmy Vasser is the all-time leader with 211 consecutive starts). Kanaan started and finished eighth last year in the inaugural Barber race.
“Today we struggled a lot,” Kanaan said. “The first session was cut short because of the rain, which didn’t help. For the second session we tried something I really didn’t like and we just ran out of time to make the necessary adjustments.”
In this morning’s first practice, Sato led the team with the seventh fastest lap recording a time of 73.8155 seconds (112.712 mph). Kanaan was 12th with a lap of 74.2371 seconds (111.535 mph) and Viso was 18th at 74.4955 seconds (111.148 mph).