KV Racing Technology driver E. J. Viso qualified
ninth for tomorrow’s Honda Grand Prix of St.
Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Teammate
Takuma Sato’s effort was hampered by a wheel gun
malfunction. He will start 11th. Mario Moraes
will grid 20th.|
Viso, #8 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone,
making his third appearance on the 1.8-mile,
14-turn St. Petersburg temporary street circuit
qualified with a fast lap of 61.9807 seconds
(104.549). Viso will start on the inside of Row
#5. Sato, who will be competing in just his
second IndyCar race and first in the green and
yellow Lotus livery, qualified with a lap of
62.4205 (103.812 mph) and will grid the #5 Lotus
– KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone
car on the inside of Row #6. Moraes, #32 KV
Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone, also
contesting his third race in St. Petersburg,
will lineup on the outside of Row 10 after
posting a qualifying lap of 62.8294 (103.136 mph).
Viso, who began the day sixth on the speed
charts following yesterday’s twin practices, had
an outstanding session prior to qualifying
running the second fastest lap. In qualifying,
the 25-year-old Venezuelan ran in Group #1 in
Round #1 and posted the fifth quickest time of
his 12-car group to advance into the second
round. In round two he came up just a bit short.
“The qualifying session for the PDVSA – KV
Racing Technology team didn’t go as well as we
had shown in practice this morning,” Viso said.
“However, we are in the top-10 and the race is
long, so I think with a good strategy and car we
will have a good race tomorrow.”
Viso, who will be competing in his 34th career
IndyCar event, 15th on a road/street circuit and
second with KVRT, earned his best started spot
in three attempts at St. Petersburg (qualified
15th in 2008 and 16th in 2009). His best finish
in St. Pete is a career high fourth in 2008 in
his second IndyCar start.
Sato was seventh on the combined speed report
after Friday’s practices. However, in morning
practice he had a bit of a mishap. Working to
gain speed in Turn #12 he hit the curb and
slightly damaged his car. After some quick
repairs, Sato finished the session with the 17th
fastest lap. In qualifying, the 33-year-old from
Japan ran in Group #2 in Round #1 and turned the
fifth quickest time in his session to advance to
Round #2. Unfortunately, a wheel gun
malfunctioned and did not properly secure the
right rear wheel nut so on the first lap of the
second round the wheel came off causing a yellow.
After an inspection of the car for damage and an
equipment change Sato went back on track, but
ran the fewest laps of the other 11 drivers and
lost his fastest lap because the yellow flag.
“It was an eventful day for the Lotus – KV
Racing team,” Sato said. “I wasn’t particularly
happy with the balance of the car in the morning
practice session and I hit the curb. In
qualifying I was reasonably happy with the
balance and was able to put the lap times
together to move into the second round. However,
in the second session I got a wheel related
mechanical problem, which caused the wheel to
come loose. After that we ran out of time to
make to make the best use of the session. I was
unable to put competitive lap times together
with the little time I had left. We will work
hard tonight and be ready for warm-up tomorrow
and I still think that we will have a good race.
Moraes, who missed all of yesterday’s second
practice after an incident, started the day 23rd
on the speed charts. In morning practice he
improved his time, but remained 23rd on the
combined practice report. For qualifying, the
21-year-old Brazilian, who is the youngest
full-time driver in the series, went out with
Group #2 in Round #1 and logged the 10th fastest
lap in his group.
Moraes, contesting his 34th career IndyCar race,
14th on a road/street circuit and 18th with KVRT,
qualified 20th for the second consecutive year.
His best finish on a road/street circuit is a
fourth last year at Infineon Raceway and his
best showing at St. Petersburg is 16th in 2008.
KVRT will be contesting its third race in St.
Petersburg. In two previous events, three
starts, they have a best qualifying position of
second by Will Power in 2008 and a best finish
of seventh by Oriol Servia 2008.