Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Nestlé – Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, April 30, 2011
SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE TO START 11TH AS HIGHEST QUALIFIED ROOKIE FOR THE ITAIPAVA SAO PAULO INDY 300 NESTLE; TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA 16TH
POLE: Will Power 1:21.8958 111.478 mph (Round 3)
11th: James Hinchcliffe 1:22.8450 110.201 mph (Round 2)
16th: Oriol Servia 1:23.4015 109.466 mph (Round 1; 8th fastest in his group)
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The course is interesting. I think it is going to provide great racing. I think that if I had to choose a place to start 16th it would be the one with the longest straights in the whole championship. This place definitely provides passing opportunities which helps our situation. We didn't get it right in qualifying; I wasn't totally happy with the Telemundo car. No excuses, we were not ten-tenths. We missed it but I am still very confident we can have a great car tomorrow. Our superb engineers are working hard and I think that if we have a good car there is no reason why we can't move up to the front."
FAST FACTS: Will be his SECOND Indy car race in Brazil, FIRST at this track and FIRST with NHR here. In 2000 he competed in the CART race in Rio de Janeiro for PPI Motorsports where he started 14 and finished 25th after contact in his rookie season while the team developed the Toyota Indy car engine. Also finished fourth in the Granja Viana 12 hour go kart race with with Vasser, Jourdain and Zanardi in Sao Paulo in 2003...Servia tested with the team in Sebring for two days in December 2010. Prior to that his previous time behind the wheel of an Indy car was also with NHR at the 2009 race in Japan where he finished fourth. He also tested in the open test at Barber Motorsports Park in March where he was fifth fastest...Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 18 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of seven top-three, 12 top-five and 14 top-10 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...Is ranked FOURTH in series point standings with 80 and is one of only four drivers to finish in the top-10 in each race so far (also Franchitti, Power and Kanaan).
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The track is cool; it's super-technical in some parts but then you have the longest straights on the entire calendar mixed into a street circuit so there is a huge variety. It really becomes a compromise on setup because you've got to trim the car for the long straights but you have still got to have downforce for the corners. It's a tough, technical place and from what I've heard it's improved a lot from last year in terms of the bumps and grip so it has been a lot of fun to drive. I think qualifying went reasonably well for the Sprott team. We didn't have a great first or second practice -- especially second practice this morning. So to make it out of the first round was great. These are a different compound Firestone reds than Long Beach so again it was a new tire for me to learn. We managed to get out of Round 1 and we made big gains in Round 2 but it wasn't enough to get any higher than 11th. I'm happy to be starting on the inside line. Again we are really close to the top-10 but I think that is all we had today after the limited running we had in the second practice so we'll take it. We finished fourth after coming from 11th two weeks ago in Long Beach so maybe it's a good sign. The race is going to be about keeping clean in Turn 1 and hopefully we have a good race car."
FAST FACTS: Will compete for the first time in the country of Brazil, make his second street course start in an Indy car (Long Beach, Brazil) and third overall in the IZOD IndyCar Series after competing in Barber and Long Beach...Earned a season-high start of eighth place in his debut at Barber and a season-high finish of fourth in Long Beach to date... He tested with NHR for two days at Sebring in December and another two days in January before testing at Barber Motorsports Park March 14-15 where he set the seventh fastest time overall at the test as well as temporarily held the fastest time on Tuesday...Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after wins in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicagoland and poles in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Watkins Glen and Edmonton. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races... Jumped from a 27th place rank (post Barber) to 17th (post Long Beach) with a total of 44 points and is only five behind Rookie of the Year leader Hildebrand (49) after two of three events so far this season.
NEWMAN/HAAS RACING IN BRAZIL: The team competed in CART events in Rio de Janeiro from 1996-2000 with drivers Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi. The best start for the team in Brazil was by Fittipaldi who earned his first CART pole in his homeland in 1999 and the team's best finish in Brazil is third, also by Fittipaldi in 1999. In 2010, the team competed in the inaugural IICS event here with Hideki Mutoh who crashed on Saturday morning but the team was able to repair the car for qualifying although it was rescheduled for race morning. Mutoh narrowly missed progressing to Round 2 and started 14th. After a Lap 1 crash that was set off by Sato, he moved up as high as sixth but was in seventh when he drove over "marbles" and fell back to 15th. After a pit stop later in the race, he lost control of the car and made contact with the wall and retired in 20th.
NEXT UP: The 75-lap Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Nestlé will be televised live on Versus beginning at 12 noon ET on Sunday. Live timing & scoring of every session can be seen free of charge on www.indycar.com