TAKUMA SATO SCORES TOP FIVE QUALIFYING POSITION Â Â IN THE WATKINS GLEN IZOD INDYCAR SERIES ACTION Moraes To Start 9th, Viso To Start Last After Big Crash Saturday WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 3, 2010) -- Takuma Sato might be a rookie in the 2010...
TAKUMA SATO SCORES TOP FIVE QUALIFYING POSITION
IN THE WATKINS GLEN IZOD INDYCAR SERIES ACTION
Moraes To Start 9th, Viso To Start Last After Big Crash Saturday
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 3, 2010) -- Takuma Sato might be a rookie in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series but his debut in qualifications Saturday at the famed Watkins Glen road circuit was anything but a first timer's performance.
The Japanese star hadn't driven the legendary 3.37-mile, 11-turn road course until Friday afternoon, but the driver of the No. 5 Lotus -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry turned in a sensational qualifying effort by scoring the fifth position on the 25-driver grid for Sunday's Camping World Grand Prix.
Sato, a seven-year Formula One veteran, battled the likes of Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Dario Franchitti and last year's Watkins Glen winner Justin Wilson in the ten-minute Firestone Fast Six shootout to secure his best qualifying position this year. Sato's previous best was sixth at Barber Motorsports Park in April.
After two early qualifying sessions, Sato was one of six drivers to compete in the final Firestone Fast Six event. Sato's speed in the finale was 134.589 miles per hour to place him fifth. Will Power won the pole position at 135.832 m.p.h.
Mario Moraes, the quickest of the KVRT drivers in Friday's practice, clocked the ninth fastest speed Saturday in the No. 32 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car with a speed of 134.405 m.p.h. Moraes enters Sunday's 60-lap feature following a spectacular come-from-behind sixth place drive at Long Beach in his last road racing appearance.
E.J. Viso, who was third two weeks ago on the Iowa Speedway oval, was forced to watch Saturday afternoon's action following a major crash in the morning practice session. Viso was showing solid speed in the one-hour practice and had moved to seventh on the charts when he went wide in turn one in the No. 8 PDVSA -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine. Viso's car hit the grass area on the outside of the turn and broke the "skid plate" under his car, causing the car to shoot across the track colliding with the turn two wall at 125 m.p.h. Viso was uninjured in the mishap but the car was badly damaged.
The PDVSA crew has rebuilt a backup car for Viso to compete in Sunday's race, where he will start from the 25th position when the green flag drops at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
TAKUMA SATO -- #5 LOTUS -- KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE:
"This morning I was reasonably happy with the car however, the Lotus -- KV Racing Technology team continued to work hard after the session and were able to put a good car together for qualifying. I was pleased to get through the first and second qualifying sessions and to be able to reach the Firestone Fast Six was a great feeling. We will hopefully have a strong car tomorrow and I am looking forward to challenging the leaders."
MARIO MORAES -- #32 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE:
"Overall it was a good qualifying. I think that the #32 KV Racing Technology car had very good balance. A couple of times I was in the top six, but the times were so close. I am happy with today and tomorrow we will spend warm-up on race setup and then hopefully have a good race."
E.J. VISO -- #8 PDVSA -- KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE:
"I am very disappointed that I couldn't qualify today. In practice I was pushing hard and went wide at Turn one. When I rejoined the track, I took a bump which broke the skid pad and bent under the car. This caused my front tires to lift and I lost steering control. It's a shame because the car was fast. However, it's a long race and anything can happen, I am grateful to be here and to be able to get back in the car for tomorrow."