Lotus News Article

Indy 500 - Qualification

Monday, May 21, 2012 - 09:00
Lotus Drivers Qualify for the Indy 500

Sunday was Bump Day Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More of the same hot weather (87 degrees) under partly cloudy skies. The Lotus cars went out to qualify and put in all their laps.  Simona de Silvestro (#78 – Lotus HVM Racing) was clocked at 214.393mph while Jean Alesi (#64 – Lotus Fan Force United) recorded a time 210.094 mph. No additional cars showed up to qualify which means all 33 cars will be on grid for the Indy 500, next Sunday.

Jean Alesi, Indycar, Indy500“Now I can breathe” said Jean Alesi, after completing today’s qualifying. Even though his Lotus F.P.Journe car wasn’t up to speed, he was happy. “I am so fortunate to be here, for my fans, for everyone here who supported me all week. This is such a big experience, to be at Indianapolis. We have no idea how difficult this really is until we do it. I am 47-years-old, and I have learned more in one week here than I did in my entire Formula One career.”

“It’s a big relief for me to finally get into this race. I have wanted to do this race ever since I was young. When I decided to do the Indy 500, I talked with my father and my brother. I am close with my family, and we talk all the time, and together, we agreed that I could do it. So, I watched many Indy races on TV. I knew who all drivers were, who the announcers were. And I trained very hard for many months to prepare. I put a lot of effort to get ready for this. Of course, I am disappointed because I don’t have the car I thought I would have, but it was all we could get, and we took it. I keep it inside of me. It’s frustrating to not have the same speed as the others. I am a professional, I have passion inside of me. I want to do the maximum that I can, with the car that I have. ”

On his Fan Force United team: “This team has worked so hard, and everybody knows the limitations that have been placed on them by our equipment.  We have made the most of our situation and I am quite happy with everything that they have done for me.  I can tell you that next Sunday night, when it is all over and it is time to leave, that I am going to be very sad, because these guys have become like family to me very quickly.  I have not always been able to experience that in my career, and it has been quite nice.”

Mike Colliver, Chief Engineer/Race Strategist FFU – summing up the day and the event to this point: “For this deal not existing two weeks ago, it’s pretty amazing really to be able to have a group of guys throw the thing together and work as well as everybody has together, to get along, and to plug away, and to not have anything pop up that limited our track time.  We worked hard, put in a lot of laps, and fortunately, now we’re in the race.  Jean’s been great to work with.  He provides great feedback.  He’s taken to the oval really quickly.  I wish we’d had a little more ultimate speed, but we’ll see what we have in race trim, and I do believe we’ll be pretty good.”

Simona de Silvestro, Indycar, HVM RacingSimona de Silvestro (#78 – Lotus HVM Racing) commented on being on grid for next Sunday’s race. “I’m really happy that we qualified. It was a good day for us. We found a bit more speed in the car. I think I have a lot of work on my side finding how to best to maneuver in traffic. My team’s been working really hard and I’m glad I was able to come through for them. I’ve had a lot of support from everybody; from my team and from all the Nuclear Clean Air Energy sponsors. I’m just happy to be in the 500.”

Director of Lotus racing, Claudio Berro was on-site for qualifying. “Having the two Lotus cars on grid for the Indy 500 is a real pleasure. That’s the positive side. I would like to thank both drivers, Jean and Simona, and the teams for doing such a great job of preparing for the qualifying. The HVM Racing team had a great setup for qualifying."

He added, “I especially want to thank the Fan Force United Team who put a whole team together in just 3 days.”

“We need to be realistic. We know we are way behind on the development of the engine, for reasons that everyone knows. Our objective now is to do better development on the engine in the future, to give the teams a better chance to do well in the upcoming races.”

Alesi Becoming a Fan Favorite

Though he is not content with the speed that has accompanied his introduction to Indianapolis, Alesi is gaining respect – respect for the racetrack and respect from officials, fans, and competitors alike.  With every lap turned, Jean gains new fans, as in the face of long odds, the indomitable spirit and never-quit attitude that so endeared him to the Formula One faithful, is also winning over the most seasoned of Indy 500 diehards.  The result has been to cast Alesi and his Lotus Fan Force United team as something of the month’s beloved underdogs.

Stay tuned for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 27th.

INDIANAPOLIS - Qualifying Results Sunday for the 96th Indianapolis 500 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1.  (2) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:38.9514 ( 226.484)
2.  (27) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:38.9537 ( 226.481)
3.  (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:39.1233 ( 226.240)
4.  (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara- Chevrolet, 02:40.6766 ( 225.456)
5.  (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:39.7004 (225.422)
6.  (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:39.8780 (225.172)
7.  (67) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.6879 (224.037)
8.  (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:40.1775 (224.751)
9.  (5) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:40.4119 ( 224.422)
10.  (8) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:40.5253 ( 224.264)
11.  (98) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.7144 ( 224.000)
12.  (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.7437 ( 223.959)
13.  (25) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:40.7720 ( 223.920)
14.  (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.8093 ( 223.868)
15.  (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 02:40.9413 ( 223.684)
16.  (50) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.0144 ( 223.582)
17.  (19) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.0866 ( 223.482)
18.  (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:41.1299 ( 223.422)
19.  (15) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.1517 ( 223.392)
20.  (99) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.3377 ( 223.134)
21.  (18) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.4865 ( 222.929)
22.  (30) Michel Jourdain, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.5124 ( 222.893)
23.  (77) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.5138 ( 222.891)
24.  (17) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:41.5720 ( 222.811)
25. (7) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:40.8666 (223.760)
26. (41) Wade Cunningham, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.2484 (223.258)
27. (22) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:41.8754 (222.393)
28. (20T) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:41.9262 (222.324)
29. (14) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 02:41.9293 (222.319)
30. (6) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:42.4374 (221.624)
31. (39) Bryan Clauson, Dallara-Chevrolet, 02:47.6671 (214.455)
32. (78) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 02:47.9162 (214.393)
33. (64) Jean Alesi, Dallara-Lotus, 02:51.3516 (210.094)