IndyCar - Qualifying Notes Brazil
SAO PAULO, Apr. 27, 2012: Will Power gave Team Penske its fourth consecutive pole of the season, and the driver of the No. 12 Verizon car set an event qualifying record in the process.
Power posted a lap of 1 minute, 21.4045 seconds with about 3 minutes left in the Firestone Fast Six shootout to claim his second consecutive pole start for the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle. It was the 26th pole of his Indy car career, tying Dario Franchitti for ninth overall.That's who Power, who's won the race the past two years, will be sharing Row 1 with in the 75-lap race on the 2.536-mile, 11-turn street circuit. Franchitti earned his second consecutive front-row start with a lap of 1:21.4485 in the No. 10 Lexar Media car for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
Event qualifying records have been set in all four IZOD IndyCar Series races this season.
Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car, extricated himself from running off course in Turn 9 with 3:30 left in the Firestone Fast to jump to third on the grid. He'll share Row 2 with James Hinchcliffe, who's the only driver to qualify for the Firestone Fast Six in all four races.
Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified fifth and Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing will start sixth following his first appearance in the Firestone Fast Six of the season. Thirteen different drivers have contested in the Firestone Fast Six.
Rubens Barrichello, competing in his first IZOD IndyCar Series race in his hometown, missed advancing to the second round by 0.0243 of a second and will start 13th.
DAY 1 NOTEBOOK:
Live timing and scoring reports from the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle are available on the Internet at racecontrol.indycar.com.
Feature stories, reports, driver quotes and notes will be posted on the INDYCAR media website at media.indycar.com. More detailed information, including media advisories and VNF coordinates are also posted on the media website. Hi-resolution images are available to media at www.indycarmedia.com. Media updates will also be provided on Twitter by following @indycarpr
New tire specs, used already: The Firestone primary and alternate tire specifications are new for Brazil, but both specs have already seen race action this year at St. Petersburg and Long Beach. The specs feature updated tread compounds applied to the same Firehawk street course tire construction used throughout 2011.
The Firestone rain tire for this weekend is the same rain spec used in the last half of 2011.
Chevy seeks to make strong impression: Chevrolet's Agile and Prisma are favorites of taxi operators in São Paulo. It's no coincidence as Brazil boasts one of the strongest global retail markets for the General Motors brand.
The race weekend on the street circuit will be the first for the IZOD IndyCar Series engine manufacturer.
"With Chevrolet's strong presence in Brazil, we have a tremendous opportunity to showcase the relevant technology in the Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 engine in front of thousands of fans," said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing IZOD IndyCar Series Program Manager. "We are looking forward to giving them something to cheer about as our teams and drivers take to the streets of São Paulo."
Promoting the Mazda Road to Indy: Raphael Matos may not be racing at the Sao Paulo Indy 300 but he is busy promoting Indy car racing in his home country.
Matos, who hopes to secure sponsorship to return to the IZOD IndyCar Series, represented the Mazda Road to Indy during a press conference at the Sao Paulo street circuit.
"I am working with Mazda to help promote the Mazda Road to Indy here in Brazil," Matos said. "I am the only driver to win on every step of the ladder, and I think having my speak on behalf of ladder and INDYCAR can help bring more Brazilian drivers to Star Mazda, Indy Lights and USF2000."
Matos, who competed in endurance sports car races earlier this year, was joined by Firestone Indy Lights driver J.V. Horto of Juncos Racing, who has been in his home country promoting the event.
"It's a big thing to be involved in this event," Horto said. "I want to help the (Mazda Road to Indy) and hopefully helping the series will help me and other Brazilian drivers. The more we can get the media and sponsors interested in the ladder series, the better it can be."
A.J. Foyt will miss the Sao Paulo event: "I'm still not 100 percent (staph infection following knee in January surgery) and I felt with Indy coming up I didn't want to put myself through that long trip to Brazil," Foyt said.
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE QUALIFYING:
IZOD IndyCar Series Pole Qualifying consists of three segments. In Segment One of qualifying, each group receives 15 minutes of track time. The fastest six cars from each group advance to Segment Two, while the remaining cars are assigned positions 13-26. Group One drivers will occupy the odd-numbered positions (13, 15, 17...) while Group Two drivers will occupy the even-numbered positions (14, 16, 18...) based on their fastest lap times.
During Segment Two, the 12 advancing cars receive 10 minutes of track time. The fastest six advance to the Firestone Fast Six Shootout while the remaining six cars are ranked in positions 7-12 based on their fastest laps.
During the Firestone Fast Six, the six cars receive 10 minutes of track time, with a guarantee of five minutes of green flag time. Each car receives one additional set of Firestone Firehawk tires for use during this final segment. At the end of the session, the cars are ranked 1-6 based on their fastest laps.
Any driver who causes a red flag during any of the groups will lose their two quickest laps.
The time line for qualifying today is at the exit of Turn 11.
At 2 p.m., the ambient temperature was 74 degrees. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 90 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.
Track record: Will Power, 1:21.8958 (April 30, 2011). Fastest lap today: #10 Dario Franchitti, 1:22.2611 (Practice 2).
2:05 p.m. - GREEN. Round 1. Group 1.
2:20 p.m. - CHECKERED. Advancing are: #12 Power, #9 Dixon, #27 Hinchcliffe, #18 Wilson, #11 Kanaan and #26 Andretti. Power's lap of 1:21.6133 is the fastest lap recorded in Sao Paulo.
2:25 p.m. - GREEN. Round 1. Group 2.
2:40 p.m. - CHECKERED. Advancing are: #10 Franchitti #28 Hunter-Reay, #67 Newgarden #14 Conway, #2 Briscoe, #38 Rahal. Franchitti's lap of 1:21.5667 is fastest lap recorded in Sao Paulo.
2:45 p.m. - GREEN. Round 2.
2:55 p.m. - Advancing to Firestone Fast Six are: #12 Power, #27 Hinchcliffe, #9 Dixon, #10 Franchitti, #18 Wilson, #28 Hunter-Reay. Power's lap of 1:21.2718 is fastest lap recorded in Sao Paulo.
3:05 p.m. - GREEN. Firestone Fast Six.
3:10 p.m. - Five minutes into the session, fastest is Franchitti at 1:22.1814.
3:12 p.m. - 10 81.5407 then #12 betters the lap 81.4045.
3:15 p.m. - CHECKERED. #12 Will Power wins the pole for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
This is Will Power's second pole of 2012 and his second consecutive pole at Sao Paulo. It is the 26th pole of his Indy car career tying him with Dario Franchitti for ninth on the all-time list.
Dario Franchitti qualified second. It is his second consecutive front row start. He started on pole at Long Beach.
Scott Dixon qualified third, matching his best start of 2012 and his best start in Sao Paulo.
James Hinchcliffe qualified fourth. He is the only driver to qualify in the Firestone Fast Six in every race this season.
IZOD INDYCAR SERIES POLE QUALIFYING QUOTES:
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, IZOD IndyCar Series Pole Award winner): "It's good to put the Verizon Chevrolet on the pole. It was satisfying, especially knowing that Honda seems to have an advantage on the straights at the moment, so being on pole is a good start to the weekend. I have a feeling it's going to be wet, or maybe wet-dry for the race so it will mix things up a lot."
DARIO FRANCHITI (No. 10 Lexar Media Honda, qualified second): "It's been a pretty good weekend so far for Team Target. We've obviously had a difficult start to the season and a lot of things go wrong in the last couple weeks. We off-loaded with a good car of the truck and made some improvements to it. I'm a bit disappointed in qualifying, especially because the time is in the car. On the first lap, Justin (Wilson) was in the runoff in the hairpin so I took it a bit easy there. And then the next lap I just messed it up to be honest, and I actually made up all of the time back again. The time was in the car, I didn't put it together. I'm a little disappointed in myself but at the same time I feel a lot more happy than I have in the last few races."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, qualified third): "We had a pretty good car. It was fairly loose, which is a bit odd actually for this year. Q2 was OK. We ended up second or third there and thought we could go for the top spot in Q3. Went out and went straight through the run-off in Turn 1 and couldn't slow the car down; the brakes were a bit strange. Then went down into Turn 11 and the left-front locked straight away with a big flat spot and went into the run-off. I had to get turned around and then take a lap to get going. We got back to third. I was lucky that some of the other cars were a bit slower to get up to speed."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, qualified fourth): "I guess four is the number of the day: fourth place, fourth time in the Firestone Fast Six. It's certainly not a bad starting spot to be on the first two rows, but we had a competitive car in (the second qualifying session) and were hoping for a little bit higher up. I need to get a better handle on how to make these tires work better on the second run. We seem to be good on sticker (tires) but in the second run (on the set of tires) in the Firestone Fast Six we were struggling a little bit. With the compressed schedule and limited track time the Go Daddy guys did a great job getting the car better every single session. We were 11th in the first practice, sixth in the second and now we qualified fourth. We're steadily improving and if we can keep that trend up for the race we're looking good."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet, qualified fifth): "It's great having all the local DHL people here today to represent and support us. This historically has been a great track for us and we're disappointed to qualify fifth - but anytime you are disappointed with fifth it's good news. The DHL/Sun Drop guys did a great job preparing the car; we do need to make some changes for tomorrow but that's what it's all about. We'll be ready to tomorrow rain or shine."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Honda, qualified sixth): "It's great to make into the Firestone Fast Six for the first time this year. We're really pleased with that. I was hoping to get a bit more once we got in there. We made the right changes to get the Sonny's Bar-B-Q Honda into the Fast Six, but we messed up on the last change and the car was a bit of a handful. But that's how it goes sometimes. We're starting sixth, we're in a good spot and we'll see what happens in the race."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "It's disappointing to just miss out on the top six by a couple hundreths of a second, but the balance wasn't quite there in Q2 and I just couldn't pull out a good enough lap time. But if there's a track where you can pass, this is it. So I'm looking forward to the race."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Penske Logistics Chevrolet): "The Penske Logistics car did well today, we needed just a little bit more. The braking felt inconsistent during qualifying but the Penske crew did a great job fixing the car after practice. We just couldn't put it together today but we will be ready for a good performance tomorrow."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "The National Guard Chevy was good, and the Panther guys did a good job improving it over the course of the day. During qualifying, between overshooting a few corners and some other guys doing the same thing causing some local yellows, I don't think I did a great job of putting a lap together until the tires were worn off. We were less than a tenth from transferring, and I think that tenth was out there for us, but I just needed to go out there and get it. It's frustrating on my part because I think the car was there, but that bodes well for tomorrow's race because we typically race well at these types of tracks and the weather feasibly being a factor doesn't hurt our chances at all."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO-PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I am disappointed with how the day went. It was not the qualifying run we expected. I truly thought we were going to show the speed and performance that we did during qualifying in the previous races, but we couldn't do it this time. We need to address a couple of things to get us back to where we belong. This series is so competitive that a little change, a little detail, can put you at the top or way down the grid. We have a strong team with a great group of drivers, so I think we can address the problems we have. As far as tomorrow, rain is predicted and that is a big variable that will affect the race strategy."
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Lotus): "It's really nice to be here in Sao Paulo. It is a new experience for me and the track is really good. We are struggling [to find speed] down the long straightaways. We are about 12 mph down versus Honda and Chevy on the back straight. It's another new circuit to learn, but we are making improvements. We had a braking problem in practice, but the team fixed that. So, good job by the team getting that problem sorted quickly. We have a few other improvements to work on now, but we believe that by tomorrow we will be competitive with the other Lotus cars."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC | Embrase - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I enjoyed qualifying. For five laps I pushed the car hard. I didn't want to give away any small percentage. I just learned the track this morning and I am still learning about the red (alternate) tire. I think it was a good qualifying. It is just so close and I am still working my way up to get into the top-10."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Itaipava | GEICO| Mouser Electronics - KV Racing Technology w/SH Chevrolet): "We have been chasing ourselves since the first practice... We made a ton of changes from the first to the second practice and then again from the second practice to qualifying. The car kept improving, but during qualifying we made one change that did not go our way. We will keep working on the car overnight to get it ready for warm-up tomorrow and hopefully put on a good show for my fans and sponsors here in Brazil."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "It wasn't a good day for us unfortunately. The first practice session was cut short because the engineers weren't happy about some parameters and we had to stop early to check the gearbox. Everything ended up okay but the session was cut short which didn't help us in terms of setting up the car. And then in the second practice I only ran a few laps before we had an engine problem which led to us not being able to take part in qualifying because of the amount of time it took to change the engine. The long straight with heavy braking here means you can overtake but starting from the back it is going to be tough. We will fight back to gain positions tomorrow and hopefully we will have a strong package. We will see how the car will be in the warm-up tomorrow. I don't mind whether it is a dry race or a wet race. To go from the back of the grid in the wet would be quite difficult in terms of visibility but there is more of a chance to go forward. In a dry race, realistically it would be very difficult to get a top result but nothing is impossible. It will be an exciting race for sure."
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Team Ipiranga Chevrolet): "It was a good day; we just worked on improving time and getting back into the car again. I didn't get much time on red tires before qualifying but they seemed quicker than the black tires and with more time on them I think we could have been faster. We are just looking to be consistent in the race tomorrow and move up where we can and do well. I'm happy today with the Ipiranga and Andretti Autosport team and looking forward to tomorrow."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No 38 Service Central Honda): "Overall the day ended better then it started. I'm still not really happy with the car. I'm just so bummed that we were so close. But tomorrow is another day and we will do better."
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): "It's a bit disappointing. I think we have a pretty good car. We just need to do a couple of tweaks for tomorrow and hope it falls our way a little bit like it did in Long Beach. Then we should be alright. The car is feeling pretty good. We just need to find a bit more speed down the straightaways and on acceleration. We'll work on it. I'm sure we'll get there."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "We had a pretty good qualifying session and I think our best on a road course so far this year. Our lap time was so close to the top 12 and that was our goal. We are making good progress and getting there. Looking forward to tomorrow with the Novo Nordisk team here in Brazil."
The following cars will receive 10-grid spot penalties for unapproved engine changes:
#6 Legge (carryover penalty from Long Beach race)
#15 Sato (engine change after Practice 2)
SUNDAY'S SCHEDULE: (All times Brazilian Time, which is an hour ahead of Eastern Time)
8:30 - 9: a.m. - IZOD IndyCar Series Warmup
12 p.m. - Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle (75 Laps), BAND (NBC Sports Network in USA), (Live).