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Mark H

Lotus 12Th, 17Th And 32Nd On Speed Charts After First Day Of Practice

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Lotus drivers Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato were 12th and 17th on the speed charts respectively after the

first day of practice for the 2011 season ending IZOD IndyCar World Championships at

Las Vegas Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.  E. J. Viso ended up 32nd when a fluid

leak cut his session short.

 

All three KVRT – Lotus drivers are making their first appearance on the 1.5-mile

D-shaped oval.

 

Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, who is currently fifth in the

championship race with 366 points and trying to become the first KVRT driver to finish

in the top-five in the final standings, ran a total of 33 laps posting a fast lap of 24.9664

seconds (222.635 mph). 

 

"It was a good start,” Kanaan said.  “The GEICO - KVRT - Lotus car was pretty good out

of the box and we ran very consistent laps under traffic.  We still have a couple of things

to try tomorrow before qualifying, but I'm happy with how the 82 was handling today. 

Tonight we have a parade down on the strip and it will be very cool for all the fans and

the visitors that are here in Vegas to check out our cars."

 

Kanaan leads KVRT – Lotus with nine top-10 finishes including seven top-five showings

and three podiums (second at Iowa, thirds at St. Petersburg and Baltimore).  In six oval

events this year the 36-year-old Brazilian has earned three top-five finishes with one

podium (Indy 500, fourth; Texas race No. 2, fifth and Iowa, second) and led 97 laps

(Texas No. 2 , 39, Milwaukee, 33 and Iowa, 25). 

 

Sato, No. 5 MGM Grand – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, 13th in the standings with

297 points, only 17 out of 10th, is looking to have a strong race and finish in the top-10

in the standings in just his second IndyCar season. The 34-year-old from Japan ran the

most laps of the KVRT - Lotus trio, 47, recording a fast lap of 25.0424 seconds

(221.960 mph).

 

“It was a productive first day,” Sato said.  “We really needed to find some speed after

Kentucky, so we made a few changes.  The car worked well in traffic and we now need

to work on preparing for qualifying tomorrow.  The Las Vegas facility is very clean and

impressive.  The track is very high banked and smooth so I hope it's going to be a

good weekend for us.”

 

Sato has finished in the top-10 seven times this year including his first three IndyCar top-five finishes (career-high fourth at Mid-Ohio and fifth at St. Petersburg and Texas). He has also earned his first two IndyCar poles (Iowa, oval and Edmonton, street circuit) becoming the first Japanese driver to do this and led his first IndyCar race (Brazil) and subsequently three others.  On ovals, Sato has earned three top-10 finishes (oval career-high fifth at Texas race No. 1, seventh at New Hampshire and an eighth at Milwaukee) and earned his first career IndyCar pole and led his first oval laps, seven, at Iowa (also led 13 laps at New Hampshire).

 

Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, currently 18th in the standings with 241 points, was having a solid practice session when he developed a fluid leak that limited him to just 17 laps and a fast time of 25.2796 seconds (219.877 mph).

 

“What a nice track to finish the championship on,” Viso said.  “I really enjoyed running on it.  It is quite high banked and you can pretty much run flat through the first corner out of the pits.  We made make a few changes to the car and then it was feeling pretty good, however shortly after we got a fluid leak and finished early.  I am looking forward to getting back on track tomorrow and having a good qualifying.”

 

Viso,  26, has finished in the top-10 four times this year, twice on ovals, a season-high seventh in race one at Texas and 10th in the second plus road-course season-high ninths at Toronto and Sonoma.  The talented Venezuelan has led two laps on an oval this year both at Texas No. 2.

 

KVRT - Lotus has been very competitive on ovals this year.  In the seven races contested this year, counting Texas as two starts, KVRT – Lotus has finished in the top-10 eight times, including four top-five showings and one podium performance. The team has earned one pole and led laps at Texas, Milwaukee, Iowa and New Hampshire.

 

The season ending IZOD IndyCar World Championships will be run Sunday, October 16.  The race will be broadcast live on October 16 on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

 

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