KV Racing Technology put in a sensational team effort at Twin Ring Motegi Saturday and scored two Top Ten positions in qualifications with E.J. Viso and Japanese star Takuma Sato starting eighth and tenth for Sunday's Indy Japan 300.
Viso, driving the No. 8 PDVSA — KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, recorded his best oval qualifying performance of the year with a fourth row starting spot in the 300-mile event on the fast 1.5-mile oval track north of Tokyo. The 25-year-old Venezuelan recorded a two-lap average of 199.487 miles per hour to lead the three-car KVRT contingent in the next to last round of the 17-race IZOD IndyCar Series.
Sato and his Lotus—KVRT squad were a remarkable story Saturday at Twin Ring Motegi.
The seven-year Formula One star makes his Motegi debut Sunday, but Saturday started rocky for the 33-year-old IndyCar rookie. A part failure early in Saturday morning practice caused Sato and his machine to spin and slide into the Turn One wall. The KVRT crew, with co-owner Jimmy Vasser also pitching in to assist in the repairs, forged a tremendous effort in the garage area to rebuild the No. 5 Lotus—KVRT Honda/Dallara/Firestone in time to collect 27 laps in the afternoon practice session.
For qualifying, Sato had the home crowd on their feet with a two-lap average of 199.191 m.p.h. taking the fifth row starting position in the 25-driver field. The Tokyo native is the fastest Japanese driver this weekend at Motegi.
Helio Castroneves won the Motegi pole position in a Team Penske 1-2-3 qualifying sweep. Sunday's Indy Japan 300 will start at 1 p.m. Japanese time and will be televised at 11 p.m. EDT Saturday on the Versus Network in North America.
Young Brazilian driver Mario Moraes will start 20th in the No. 32 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car with a speed of 196.460 m.p.h.
E.J. VISO -- #8 PDVSA – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "We have been strong all day in practice and qualifying. I am happy with the improvements we have done on the PDVSA – KV Racing car. I worked with Takuma to help him on the setup and he had a good qualifying as well. We are now in a strong position for Sunday's race here at Motegi. We have had a good race car on the oval tracks this year, so I expect to be very good for the race. This track has such different turns. Turns One and Two are flat on the throttle and Turns Three and Four are much more difficult for a driver. You really have to work with roll bars and the weight jacker to adjust the car through the tighter Turns Three and Four. I feel good going into the Motegi race."
TAKUMA SATO -- #5 LOTUS – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "I think KV Racing Technology won the day. It's a great result for the whole team. After we had such a difficult situation in the morning, the whole team, crew members from all three cars, came together to work on my car. I really appreciate all the mechanics and everything they did. It was a great job. Even though I only ran a few laps during the second practice, I want to thank the engineers for giving me a car that gave me the confidence to attack the most challenging oval in the series during my qualifying run. I also have to thank the fans. They are really behind me. The next step is to review all the data from today and hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow."