PKV Racing provisionally qualifies both bars in the top10 for Sunday's Vegas Grand-Prix

07.04.2007: PKV Racing provisionally qualifies both bars in the top10 for Sunday's Vegas Grand-Prix

Round #1 – 2007 Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season – PKV Racing provisionally qualified both cars in the top-10 for Sunday’s inaugural Vegas Grand Prix in Las Vegas, Nevada. .

Tristan Gommendy, behind the wheel of the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone entry provisionally qualified eighth with a fast time of 81.565 seconds (107.693 mph) on the exciting, new 2.440-mile, 12-turn downtown Las Vegas temporary street circuit. Teammate Neel Jani, in the #21 Red Bull Gulfsteam PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, qualified ninth with a quick lap of 81.618 seconds (107.623 mph)

Gommendy, who was driving a Champ Car for just the second time having tested at Laguna Seca in March, was 12th on the speed charts after the morning practice with a quick lap of 86.494 seconds (101.556 mph). In the 15-minute afternoon practice/warm-up prior to qualifying, he showed some improvement posting a time of 84.351 seconds (104.138 mph), which placed him 10th on both the individual and combined practice reports.

In qualifying, Gommendy ran two stints getting progressively faster as more time behind the wheel of a Champ Car produced positive results on the speed charts. Pulling onto the track shortly after the 30-minute session began, Gommendy ran a five lap first stint turning a quick time of 82.439 seconds (106.550 mph), which temporarily placing him second. His second stint began with eight and a half minutes remaining and concluded five laps later. Gommendy’s fast time came on the ninth of the ten laps he ran in qualifying.

Speaking about today’s qualifying effort Gommendy said, "This was my first qualification in a Champ Car. It is a new car, new championship, everything is new. But, I think the Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Team did a good job. My engineer Yves (Touron) and the entire team did a good job preparing car. I learned a lot today. The biggest thing for me is the circuit is really bumpy. Here in America it isn’t really bumpy, but in Europe it is never bumpy like this. So, again, a lot of things are new, but I think we have a good set up now and I think we can do a very job tomorrow."

Gommendy, who only signed with PKV Racing in March, is a Champ Car rookie, but a veteran of European open wheel racing. The 27-year-old Frenchman spent the 2006 season driving nine events for iSport International in GP2 and four for Pons Racing in the World Series by Renault, earning one pole and one podium.

He competed in the Formula 3 France series capturing the championship in 2002 with five wins, 10 poles and 10 podiums in 14 races, and various F3 events around the world (won the Formula 3 Macau GP in 2002). In addition, Gommendy has competed in Formula Renault V6 Eurocup and the Formula Nissan World Series.

Jani recorded the fifth fastest time of the morning practice clocking a quick lap of 85.463 seconds (102.781 mph). During the 15-minute warm-up, he was fifth again with a time of 83.292 seconds (105.460 mph). In qualifying, the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Team also ran stints. Jani began his first segment with 18:22 left in the 30-minute session.

He notched a time of 82.037 seconds (107.074 mph) on his sixth and final lap of the stint, which placed him temporarily placed him sixth on the speed charts. Jani’s second stint began with just seven minutes remaining. He ran four more laps posting his quick time on the 10th of his total of 11 laps.

"This morning was not too bad," Jani said. "Obviously, this afternoon did not meet the expectations of the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Team. We are just going to have to sit down, review the data and find a solution for tomorrow."

Jani, a 23 year-old native of Rorschach, Switzerland, is another Champ Car rookie and veteran of European racing having competed in go-karts, the Swiss Formula A Lista Junior Championship, where he earned his first formula car title, plus the Formula Renault 2000, Formula Renault V6, GP2 and A1 GP Championships.

Jani, who tested for the Swiss Formula One Sauber Petronas Team in 2003 and 2004, became a member of the Red Bull driver development program in 2005. With Red Bull backing, he spent the 2006 season as a test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One team and competed in four GP2 races plus four A1 GP events taking the win and finishing fourth in Malaysia.

Jani, who signed with PKV Racing in January, has been very competitive during preseason testing with the new DP01 chassis, finishing in the top-three at each of the three open tests.

There will be a practice session tomorrow morning at 9:45 a.m. followed by final qualifying at 2:00

The Vegas Grand Prix, Round #1 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, will be held on Sunday, April 8, on the streets of downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. The race will be broadcast live on NBC at 4:00 p.m. ET.

For more information please visit: www.pkvracing.com  or www.gulfstream.com

- Kevin Diamond-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/vegas-grand-prix-pkv-racing-neel-jani-tristan-gommendy-red-bull-gulfsteam-pay-by-touch-megaspirea-bridgestone---20924.html

07.04.2007 / MaP

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