One of the most exciting parts of racing at a new circuit is the unknown. Unfortunately, it is those unknowns that can also be the most frustrating part. The 2.6 mile temporary street course set up to challenge the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers for...
One of the most exciting parts of racing at a new circuit is the unknown. Unfortunately, it is those unknowns that can also be the most frustrating part. The 2.6 mile temporary street course set up to challenge the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers for this weekend's São Paulo Indy 300 race began showing its teeth, which began to cost many dearly. With the air temperature reaching above the 90 degree mark and the track conditions as challenging as they were, Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing's driver Simona De Silvestro and her #78 Stargate Resistance entry had their work cut out for them. The goal was to simply try to complete the day's practice and qualifying sessions with respectable results and doing so without being bitten by the wild track.
Despite the track's slick and bumpy conditions De Silvestro found success during both practice sessions. For the first session the young rookie reached a high of 4th on the timesheets before finishing 12th with a fast time of 1:33.4757, which was 1.7 seconds behind the leader. She had completed 19 productive laps during that session. De Silvestro and her crew returned for the second practice session and continued their positive momentum. This time De Silvestro completed a total of 16 laps and at the end found herself 13th on the timesheets with a best lap time of 1:35.4282.
After drivers had expressed concerns over the continued slickness of the track, specifically the one-third-mile Anhembi Sambodromo front stretch, which had most of the drivers going sideways and others making contact, IZOD IndyCar officials decided to replace today's scheduled qualifying session with another practice session. Qualifying would be postponed until 8:30 am local time tomorrow. Series officials erred on the side of caution and will modify the front stretch overnight to make way for a safer qualifying session and ensuing race.
The third practice session of the day was also fraught with yellow flags, but once again De Silvestro kept her focus and, when she had to, cautiously made her way around those parts of the course that had already bitten so many other drivers throughout the day. Her strategy worked and, with the experienced crew guiding her through the hazards, she was able to complete a productive 18 laps, with her best lap time for this final session being 1.32.6710 which was laid on lap # 15.
Simona De Silvestro, Driver No. 78 - "It was pretty crazy out there today. Considering how track conditions were throughout the day, but I'm pretty happy about how we did. I'm learning all the time. Every corner I go by I'm learning. I think we are on the right track. We made some adjustments early on that did not quite work so we went back and now I believe the car is very good and now it's on me. I think we're good for qualifying tomorrow and we just have to get through tomorrow's race. I'm very excited about tomorrow and I'm looking forward to driving in my first IZOD IndyCar Series race in Brazil."
Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing Team Principal - "I think it went very well. Simona did a fantastic job and she did everything we could have wanted. She kept it clean and she steadily progressed. We're all very proud of her efforts today."
Imran Safiulla, Team Stargate Worlds Team Principal - "I thought it went very well today. It took a lot of effort and sacrifice from a lot of people to get here, so to be here today is quite special. Simona did a fair job and maintained a cool head and kept her nose clean the entire day. Hopefully that will help us do well for tomorrow's events."
-source: tsw/hvm racing