Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – Infineon Raceway
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, August 27, 2011
SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE EARNED HIGHEST ROAD COURSE START OF SIXTH FOR THE INDY GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA; TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA TO START 18TH
1st: Dario Franchitti 1:18.6017 / 105.479 mph (Round 3)
6th: James Hinchcliffe 1:19.4546 / 104.346 mph (Round 3)
18th: Oriol Servia 1:19.3955 / 104.424 mph (Round 1; Group 2)
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "Our qualifying effort was not what we wanted; it didn't make our weekend easy for us. We tried to guess what the red Firestone alternate's would do and we went a little too far and couldn't put it together. I had one lap that I thought the car was good enough but I just couldn't push it enough. And the next lap that I pushed, the tires had already went off. I couldn't put it together but at least James saved qualifying for the team. We actually looked like the best of the rest after the Penske' and Ganassi's. Well done for James and hopefully we can put it together for tomorrow. This is a track that, yes, it is very difficult to pass but it is a race that for some reason a lot of stuff, a lot of yellows and different strategies take place so there is no reason to give up at all. We would have preferred to qualify better – no doubt – but there is still a definite possibility of moving the Telemundo car forward tomorrow."
FAST FACTS: Will be his be his third race here. He started 15th and finished 8th here in 2008 with KV. A broken fuel pump in the only pre-qualifying practice with NHR at Sonoma in 2009 led to a 17th place start but he stretched his fuel longer than many and finished sixth after an exciting late race duel with Justin Wilson, whom he held off despite the Brit being on the faster red "alternate" Firestone's while he was on the standard tire...Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 28 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of NINE top-three finishes. In 2005, Servia replaced NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a season-ending injury at the Indy 500 on May 29, and then went on to finish second to teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the point standings after 11/13 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi...Best start and finish of the season are 2nd place – both in New Hampshire...Is FOURTH in series point standings with 308.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's cool to see a blue car up there. It's something that Oriol's done a couple of times this year and it's nice now to add my name to the list. We didn't have the best day yesterday and we didn't have the best run this morning so we weren't quite sure what to do and we were in a little bit of crisis mode. We really buckled down and put our heads together and asked the guys to do a lot of changes to the car during qualifying and I thank them for actually getting it done and it seem to work out alright so I'm really happy to get into the Firestone Fast Six for the first time. Although I didn't get to test, Oriol was here testing so we had a good baseline to start from..... I'm not sure what happened on his side of things. He's always strong in the race so I'm not too worried about that. So hopefully we can stay up front and hopefully he'll get up front and we can have two Newman/Haas cars in good position at the end of the race. This is going to be a long tough race. It's a challenging racetrack, it's a physical racetrack and it's one where it's really easy to make mistakes. I've seen at practice guys going off left, right and center, so it'll be interesting to see how it unfolds over full race distance. It's about keeping the car underneath you and staying ahead of it and good clean stops. It's a tough place to pass on so a good qualifying effort is definitely a good start."
FAST FACTS: This will be his FIRST race in an Indy car here and FIFTH overall at the track. He qualified fourth and finished sixth in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights (FIL) race here. In 2010 he started and finish third in the FIL event. He competed in the Star Mazda series here in 2005 and earned his first series pole, podium and win in the double-header event ...Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after three wins and four poles. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races... His highest road/street course start of the season is seventh at Mid-Ohio and highest road/street finish of fourth at Long Beach. Is ranked 16th with a total of 217 points and is 17 behind Rookie of the Year leader Hildebrand (234) after 12 of 13 events so far this season (did not compete in St. Pete).
NEWMAN/HAAS RACING AT INFINEON RACEWAY: This will be the fourth race for the team here. Justin Wilson (2008), Graham Rahal (2008-2010), Oriol Servia (2009) and Hideki Mutoh (2010) have competed for the team in previous races here. Servia returns to the track with the team for the first time since 2009 and James Hinchcliffe will make his first start with the team here. The team's highest previous start here is sixth by Rahal and their highest finish is sixth by Oriol Servia – both in 2009.
TUNE-IN... The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised at 4 p.m. EDT Sunday, August 28th on Versus. The radio broadcast also will be carried on www.indycar.com As always, fans can follow the action from every on-track session via the official website of the IZOD IndyCar Series, www.indycar.com