Saturday, 18 September 2010 02:00
Page 1 of 2Helio Castroneves earned his fourth PEAK Performance Pole Award in five years at Twin Ring Motegi, claiming the top spot for the Indy Japan 300, while IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Will Power (201.463) will share Row 2 with his nearest rival Dario Franchitti (200.964).
Castroneves recorded a two lap average of 201.992 mph on the 1.52 mile oval to lead a 1-2-3 sweep for Team Penske, Ryan Briscoe (201.594) also will be on the front row.
Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay will start fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, and E.J. Viso recorded his best start on an oval this season in eighth. Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon will start ninth.
Takuma Sato, who saw limited track time because of a crash early in the first practice session, led the three drivers with Japanese heritage with a 10th place starting spot. Hideki Mutoh will start 17th and Roger Yasukawa 21st.
The Indy Japan will also decide the inaugural A.J. Foyt Oval Championship with Castroneves, Franchitti, Kanaan, Wheldon and Scott Dixon still eligible to win the title and its $50,000 bonus.
This is the eighth IZOD IndyCar Series event held at Twin Ring Motegi. Scott Dixon is the defending race winner and also won the Peak Performance Pole Award last year.
Dixon (2009,) Danica Patrick (2008), Tony Kanaan (2007), Helio Castroneves (2006) and Dan Wheldon (2004-2005) are past winners of the event who are entered in the event.
KV Racing Technology drivers Takuma Sato, E.J. Viso and Mario Moraes have an extra set of eyes watching them during the Indy Japan 300.
Oriol Servia, who finished fourth in last year's Motegi race with Newman/Haas Racing, is serving as driver consultant for the team.
"I'm very happy to be in Japan. It's a race I always enjoyed coming to. I'm helping KV Racing, the team I drove for in 2008. I had a good result here last year and they thought I could help the team, especially Sato because this is a very important race for him. And I think I can help him. I've been in this paddock for 10 years, so hopefully there are things I can see and tell him to do as well as possible."
IZOD IndyCar Series technical information for the Indy Japan 300:
Honda overtake assist
Overtake assist was introduced to the series in August 2009 and will make be used for the second time at Twin Ring Motegi in the Indy Japan 300.
The system employed by Honda Performance Development is an ECU software alteration and is activated by the driver via a button on the steering wheel and provides an extra 200 RPM (about 10 horsepower) to the Honda Indy V8 engine.
Parameters are updated before each race weekend to meet the circuit layout.
For the 1.5 mile Twin Ring Motegi
- 20 uses
- 15 seconds duration each use
- 10 second recharge period between uses
Firestone Firehawk tyres
Each car receives eight sets (32 tyres) of Firehawk tyres.
Firestone's tyre specification is unique for Twin Ring Motegi. The spec utilizes Firestone Racing's superspeedway (Texas, Kansas, Chicagoland) construction, paired with compounds that provide similar grip and wear levels to the tyres used at the Indianapolis 500.
Firestone Racing engineers have determined this to be the best compromise for the 1.5 mile, egg shaped Twin Ring Motegi track.
- The rear wing flap angle is a minimum 15 degrees and the rear wing has a minimum 1 inch wicker.
- There are no vertical end fence wickers or reverse wickers for Twin Ring Motegi.
- tyre ramps, sidepod extensions and brake backing plates are optional.
Dan Wheldon earned his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory at Twin Ring Motegi in 2004, and returned for a Victory Circle encore in 2005.
He's finished in the top 10 in all seven races. Wheldon, driver of the #4 National Guard Panther Racing car, enters the race with second and third place finishes in the past two races in his helmet.
"We've got a lot of momentum going right now within the team from our performance at Chicago and Kentucky, and we feel like we're going to continue that this weekend in Motegi. It's a great racetrack, and outside of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway it's probably my favourite oval track on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. The National Guard boys have been working so hard lately and we feel like we're getting closer and closer to our first trip to Victory Lane together."
PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING NOTES:
· Helio Castroneves won the PEAK Performance Pole Award for the second time in 2010. He also won the pole at Indianapolis. It is his fourth pole at Motegi in his past five races at the track.
· Ryan Briscoe qualified second. His previous best start at Motegi was fourth in 2009.
· Will Power qualified third, extending his streak of consecutive top five starts to 12.
· Team Penske swept the top three spots for the second time this season. The team previously started 1-2-3 at Watkins Glen.
· E.J. Viso qualified eighth, his best oval qualifying position of the season.
PEAK PERFORMANCE POLE QUALIFYING RESULTS:
||Simona de Silvestro