Sonoma, CA (September 15, 2018) – The wind played its part during qualifying for the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma on Saturday, providing tricky conditions for Dale Coyne Racing rookies Pietro Fittipaldi and Santino Ferrucci who qualified 13th and 20th, respectively.
Fittipaldi was the first of the two rookies to take to the track in Group 1, Round 1 of qualifying. After choosing to take to the track on Firestone Red tires, he jumped up to first on his first lap but would end up sitting ninth by the time he entered pit lane for a fresh set of Firestone alternate tires about halfway through the 10-minute session.
The driver of the #19 Paysafe car then jumped back up to first with a fastest lap of 1:18.5281, only to fall to seventh in his group by the time the checkered flag had fallen on group 1 qualifying. Fittipaldi’s best performance in qualifying on a road course was only a few of tenths of a second short from making it to the Fast 12.
His teammate Ferrucci took to the track in Group 2 of Round 1 of qualifying and placed as high as third in his first outing before heading to pit lane for a set of Firestone alternate tires. The young American registered his fastest time of 1:18.6172 on his fifth lap of the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course.
However, on his final lap, the driver of the #39 Cly-Del Manufacturing car was on pace to register a time of 1:17.9, which would have placed him fourth in his group when the wind caught him off guard in the last turn costing him precious tenths of a second and a spot in the Firestone Fast 12. Ferrucci ended up placing 10th in his group.
The INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma will be broadcast live on NBCSN from 3:30pm local time (6:30pm ET) with the final green flag of the season scheduled for 3:40pm local time. The race can also be heard live on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network, including SIRIUS/XM 209/214.
What they have to say:
Pietro Fittipaldi – #19 Paysafe Honda
“We had a test on Thursday and practice yesterday and our #19 Paysafe car was competitive on both days. The conditions are always changing here at Sonoma Raceway, especially the wind, it changes direction a lot. Coming into qualifying, we had a lot of tail wind, mostly in the heavy braking zones which made it tricky for everyone. The track temperature was also a lot hotter than the morning, so we knew it was going to be tough. That said, I think we put in a decent qualifying effort, qualifying seventh in our group, so we’ll be starting 13th tomorrow. Our goal was to make it to Round 2 and we were very close in doing so but it just wasn’t our day today. We’re always making progress and now we need to focus on tomorrow and hopefully we can come out of it with another solid top 10 finish.”
Santino Ferrucci – #39 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda
“We had a top 6 car for qualifying. I was working a really good lap at the end, but the wind caught me a little off guard and I locked the rears and lost the car going into the last turn and it cost us a shot at the Firestone Fast 12. There’s not much else to say. I want to say thanks to the crew and the team for providing me an awesome car. We will just have to pass a lot more cars than we were hoping to tomorrow. I think our Cly-Del Manufacturing car will be good in the race. It’s going to be about being smart and moving up the field, keeping our head down and making up spots and hopefully a few yellows go our way.”