The pair of Dale Coyne Racing rookies showed their potential during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portland on Saturday, with Pietro Fittipaldi and Santino Ferrucci respectively placing 16th and 18th on the starting grid of the 25-car field.
Both drivers headed out in Group 2 during Round 1 of qualifying, with Fittipaldi initially moving into first on his second lap of the 1.964-mile circuit aboard his #19 Paysafe machine. He remained in that position until visiting pit lane for a fresh set of Firestone alternate tires following his third qualifying lap. While Fittipaldi moved back up into fourth place with a quickest time of 57.7321 seconds registered on his sixth lap, he would drop to eighth in his group when all cars had taken the checkered.
As for his teammate Ferrucci in the #39 Cly-Del car, he took to the track on Firestone Black tires and placed as high as fifth in his group before heading to pit lane for a set of Firestone Reds. Unfortunately for the rookie, a slower car ahead of him cost him a couple of tenths and a possible place in the Fast 12. His fastest lap time of 57.7735 seconds placed him ninth in his group, behind his fellow rookie teammate.
The green flag will drop on the Grand Prix of Portland on Sunday, September 2 at 12:09pm local time and will be broadcast live on NBCSN from 11:30am local time (2:30pm ET). 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
“It was a tough group but that’s not an excuse. I think the #19 Paysafe car was good. It was good yesterday in practice and Thursday at the test. We’re just missing that last little tenth. I’m happy with the performance of the car and the Dale Coyne Racing team has done a great job. I’m feeling a lot better than at Mid-Ohio, still a little bit of pain, but I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. It’s a long race and we’ll be pushing to the front.”
Santino Ferrucci – #39 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda
“We had a great car, but we unfortunately got caught up in some slower traffic and I couldn’t build more of a gap because I had another car behind me. It’s a shame because I think we could have gone a couple of tenths faster with our #39 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda to make it into the Fast 12. I feel bad for the guys because they’ve done a great job preparing the car but it’s a long race tomorrow and we’ll try to get it up front. I think we have something good for the race.”