Lexington, OH (July 29, 2017) – Esteban Gutierrez scored his best qualifying position of the season on Saturday with a 12th place on the grid for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His teammate Ed Jones qualified 15th.
Both Jones and Gutierrez went out in Group 1 during Segment 1 of qualifying. After completing three laps each and before heading to pit lane for a fresh set of Firestone Red Tires, Gutierrez was sixth with Jones 10th.
During the second half of the 10-minute session, Jones jumped up as high as second. However, despite registering a fastest of lap of 1:05.0337 on his final lap, he would have to settle for eighth in his group and 15th on the grid.
As for Gutierrez, he was sitting ninth in the final seconds of the session but he was able to jump up into fourth position with a lap time of 1:04.7785 on his final lap of the session. The time sent him into the top six and onto the second round of qualifying for the first time.
During Round 2, the driver of the #18 Unifin car made it as high as third early in the session, but despite improving his time, his lap of 1:05.0368 placed him 12th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Gutierrez and Jones will have a 30-minute warm-up session at 11:15am Sunday morning to fine-tune their cars ahead of the 3:47pm green flag.
The Honda Indy 200 will be broadcast live on CNBC on Sunday, July 30 starting at 3:00pm ET. An encore presentation will be broadcast later that evening at 7:00pm ET on NBCSN.
What they had to say:
Esteban Gutierrez – #18 Unifin Honda
“It was very exciting to try to explore and to keep experimenting with the car. Obviously, this is a new track for me. It was challenging to find the right set up. We’ve been working hard as a team to find the sweet spot. I think we managed a good balance until we got to the last run when the track changed. The track is evolving very quickly and you need to keep up with that balance. It was the first time we were in that session so we missed something to anticipate and to keep up with the balance but I think it was a good experience. It’s my first time into the Fast 12 and it was very interesting. The team did a good job and it’s our best qualifying so far, so we’re making progress and that makes me happy.”
“It was a tough qualifying session overall. We got slowed down a bit by a car in front of us on my last laps and then the car just got loose and I wasn’t able to improve my lap time at the end to move up the charts.”