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1 May 2010

KV Racing Technology cars show great speed in Kansas oval battle
 

All 3 Drivers Race In Top 7 With Sato Impressive In Oval Debut

Mario Moraes placed seventh, Takuma Sato 24th and E.J. Viso 27 in results sheet, but the three KVRT drivers put on quite a show in the 200-lap contest on the 1.5 tri-oval west of Kansas City in the fifth round of the 17-race IZOD IndyCar Series.

All three drove their way to the front of the field Saturday and looked in position to score top-five finishes. Unfortunately, two of the drivers had to watch the finish from the pit lane. But the performances by Moraes, Sato and Viso gave the team a solid foundation leading into the biggest race of the year, the Indianapolis 500, on May 30. Former open-wheel champion Paul Tracy also joins the team at Indy.

Sato, the Formula One veteran, was impressive in his first oval start in the No. 5 Lotus—KVRT Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine by charging to sixth with 14 laps remaining when a collision with Hideki Mutoh on the front straightaway ended his day. Sato, starting 11th, drove past the likes of Will Power, Victor Meira, Danica Patrick and Ryan Hunter-Reay to compete for a top-five finish before the mishap. Sato hadn’t driven on an oval track until Wednesday’s rookie testing session at Kansas Speedway.

Viso, driving the No. 8 PDVSA—KVRT Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, made a sensational charge from 16th to fifth before making contact in turn one while passing a lapped car. Viso’s mount was not repairable and he exited the race on lap 72.

Moraes, coming off a superb sixth place at Long Beach two weeks ago, took the No. 32 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car to a seventh place finish to now move within three points of the top-ten in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.

Scott Dixon won the race followed by Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Hunter-Reay, Ryan Briscoe and Moraes.

The KVRT squad begins its assault of the Indy 500 with a testing session this week at Kentucky Speedway. The famed Brickyard opens on Saturday, May 15, with practice rounds.

Indy 500 qualifications are schedule for Saturday, May 22 (for the first 24 positions), and Sunday, May 23 (for the final nine spots), for the coveted 33 starting field.

Driver quotes:

Mario Moraes, finished 7th: “We had a problem in qualifying that hurt us. We tried to fix it for the race, but maybe it wasn’t enough. The car ran pretty good though. The setup wasn’t the best for today. Now, we have to work harder to get ready for the Indy 500. We also had some problems with our pit stops today. Overall, I thought we could have had a better placing. So there are some things we can work on for Indy.”

Takuma Sato, finished 24th: “Today was a very exciting day for me being my first race oval race. I was running in sixth place with 14 laps to go when a yellow flag came out. There was a pack in front on the restart while I was racing Hideki (Mutoh) side-by-side. It looked like he was pushing up to the wall and I had nowhere to go. After having a conversation with Hideki, he was being pushed up into me by the lapped orange car. We both had nowhere to go. It’s very, very unfortunate. I feel bad for the fan, particularly for all of the Japanese fans and all of Hideki’s fans. The KV Racing Technology Lotus Team did a fantastic job. It’s just frustrating and I’m very disappointed not to finish. However I really enjoyed racing with many great drivers and gaining a lot of positions as well as understanding how oval racing works.”

E.J. Viso, finished 27th: “We were running very fast today. The car was very good to drive. I could go almost anywhere on the track. We went from 16th to fifth. I made a mistake for speeding in the pit lane and had a drive through penalty. But I came back and was able to get by other cars again. Unfortunately, I tried to get around (Rafael) Matos in turn one and got into the loose stuff near the wall. The car slid up into the barrier. The contact broke the front suspension. I feel very badly for the team and sponsors because our No. 8 PDVSA KV Racing Technology car was extremely fast today. Overall, I think we shown that our team has good oval setups and we are anxious to get to Indianapolis now.”