Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, April 9, 2011
TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA TO START SIXTH IN THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA; SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE TO START EIGHTH IN HIS SERIES DEBUT
POLE: Will Power | 1:11.4546 | 115.878 mph | (from Round 3)
6th: Oriol Servia | 1:12.4394 | 114.302 mph | (from Round 3)
8th: James Hinchcliffe | 1:11.8183 | 115.291 mph | (from Round 2)
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We are very happy to get the Telemundo car into the Firestone Fast Six. In St. Pete, we thought we had the speed in the morning before qualifying and then we just got a little lost for qualifying and kind of messed it up so I am very happy that we got both Newman/Haas cars in the top eight here. That’s great for the team. Here, we were able to keep our minds on the game and tried to anticipate qualifying and the car felt good. We still are not where this team has been before in terms of performance but we are definitely closer so I am very happy we are starting towards the front with the fast guys. It has been good so far and we want more. The team has put a huge amount of effort into the whole program over the winter. With the commitment that Carl Haas showed to the team and the IndyCar Series over the winter, I am happy to be able to give them a good performance today. We got Telemundo on board in St. Pete and it’s great to make them happy with a strong starting position.”
FAST FACTS: Will be his first time to race at this course. He attended the 2010 open test as a spectator and drove here for the first time at the 2011 IICS open test on March 14-15 where he set the fifth fastest time overall as well as temporarily held the fastest time on 3-15…Servia also 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…Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 16 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, 11 top-five and 13 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 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Its one of those things where you say ‘Man I’m only a tenth (of a second) out of the fast six. I could have been there.’ But then you say ‘It’s my first race and I’m only a tenth out of the fast six.’ We are super-happy with how the session went for the Sprott team and we are really happy that Oriol made it into the Firestone Fast Six. It’s one of those things that says a lot about the cars that Newman/Haas Racing brought here. We didn’t unload great and we have done a lot of work and the cars have gotten really good so the team deserves a lot of credit. For me it was just a matter of getting used to the red Firestone alternate tires. It’s a big difference and that is the first time I have ever had a chance to drive on them. I was really lucky that we got out of that first group and got a second change to give it a go in Round 2. I’m very happy that the Sprott car is starting in the top-10 for the race tomorrow.”
FAST FACTS: Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) is the only track James has driven an Indy car on to date that he will race on this season. The team ran James in two, two-day tests at Sebring International Raceway prior to bringing him to BMP for the open test March 14-15. He set the fifth fastest time overall on Monday (3-14) and the seventh fastest (3-15) overall time over two days at the IICS open test at Barber 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. Hinchcliffe progressed through the ranks of the Rotax (2002), F2000 (2003), Formula BMW (2004), Star Mazda (2005), and Atlantic series (2006-2008) before joining the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2009. He also competed in a season of A1GP competition (2007)…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.
NEWMAN/HAAS RACING AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK: This will be the second race here for the team, the first for Oriol Servia, and the series debut for James Hinchcliffe. The team set the fifth (Servia) and seventh (Hinchcliffe) fastest times in the open test here March 14-15. Hideki Mutoh competed for the team at Barber in 2010. He was seventh and eighth fastest in the practice sessions but the timing of a caution in qualifying limited him to a 17th place start. Limited passing opportunities resulted in a 15th place finish.
NEXT UP: The 90-lap Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live on Versus at 3:00 p.m. ET Sunday.