In a race that got messy with multiple cars hitting the walls on the track and pit road, HVM Racing's E.J. Viso and Robert Doornbos stayed out of the fray and finished Saturday's Japan Indy 300 in 15th and 16th positions respectively. Viso and...
In a race that got messy with multiple cars hitting the walls on the track and pit road, HVM Racing's E.J. Viso and Robert Doornbos stayed out of the fray and finished Saturday's Japan Indy 300 in 15th and 16th positions respectively.
Viso and Doornbos both came to Twin Ring Motegi having never driven the egg-shaped oval before, and the team worked through two practices Friday to devise the best approach to attack the asymmetrical and bumpy track. Viso's No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda Dallara qualified in the 18th position and Doornbos' No. 33 HVM Racing Honda Dallara started in 19th.
Viso took off fast at the drop of the green flag, moving up four positions on the opening laps. But by Lap 34, he had dropped back to 17th. He remained in that section of the field for most of the race. Doornbos battled an understeer issue for the early part of the race, as well as a radio transmission problem. But the 33 crew worked to find a good balance for the car in the later laps and was making up ground when an untimely yellow pushed Doornbos back several positions and erased some of his progress.
Both cars ran clean races and avoided competitors' mishaps, with Viso finishing 15th and Doornbos crossing the finish line right behind him in 16th.
The HVM team now travels back home to Indianapolis to prepare for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 10.
Comments from HVM Racing Team Principal and Owner Keith Wiggins after the Japan Indy 300:
"We obviously still have to do some work. But I think we at least had stints during the race with both cars where they looked pretty good. It's just unfortunate, especially with Robert, that we lost out big-time to that yellow just after he had pitted."
Comments from PDVSA HVM Racing Driver E.J. Viso after the Japan Indy 300:
"We had a pretty smooth race again, but pretty off the pace of the fastest. Heading into the last race in Homestead, hopefully it will be better. I know the team has put intense work into the car to make it faster but we still need some more speed.
"I need to thank all the sponsors and say that it was great to meet with all the Herbalife and Arai people here in Japan."
Comments from HVM Racing Driver Robert Doornbos after the Japan Indy 300:
"It was a long race. Most of the damage was done yesterday by qualifying so far in the back. We didn't have a very good first stint, with the car having a lot of understeer still, so we made a big change.
"I had to send codes with the radio button because I couldn't speak -- they couldn't understand me in the pits. So double click was yes, one click was no. So when they would ask how the set-up was, it was a bit difficult to explain it like that. Once we got more front wing, the car was getting better. We had a very solid third stint, where I was just following (Tony) Kanaan for about 30 laps on the same pace and the same pace as the leaders. But then we dropped five places with an unlucky yellow.
"But it was a good experience. And we'll work hard for Miami."