Source: Team PR
Qualifying for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach proved challenging for Juncos Hollinger Racing earlier today, meaning Callum Ilott will start tomorrow’s race in P22 and team-mate Agustín Canapino will line up P26.
The third round of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES got underway with two practice sessions on the 1.96-mile street course, and Callum’s P8 finish during the opening exchanges on Friday gave the team reason to be optimistic.
But both drivers suffered contact with the wall – Agustín in Practice 1 on Friday and Callum in Practice 2 on Saturday – meaning their preparation for qualifying was reduced. Callum missed almost all of Practice 2 when his #77 machine was unexpectedly launched into the tyre wall at Turn 5.
Despite having reduced track time and less of an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Firestone rubber they’ll use during Sunday’s Grand Prix, both men are targeting a stronger performance on race day.
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is scheduled to go green at 15.30 ET.
Callum Ilott – No. 77
“It’s been a frustrating day and I think we were stuffed by not having any knowledge of the track changes where I went off in Practice 2. I approached that corner in the same way as I had yesterday (Friday) and this time I got bitten on the arse.
“Not having any experience of the greens (tire) meant we went into qualifying a bit blind and the car just wasn’t in the right window. I managed to scrap a reasonable lap time out of it but it wasn’t ideal.
“It’s been a tough day for everyone, but tomorrow’s a new one and we have to make sure we’re on top of it for the race so we can try and work our way forward.”
Agustín Canapino – No. 78
“I think it’s been a good qualifying for my first time in Long Beach – one second off the leader which isn’t bad.
“I struggled a little bit on my second outing with the new tyres, but I’m happy with the start to my weekend.
“Tomorrow, I hope we can have a good race and take some points.”
“It’s been a very difficult weekend so far. Yesterday, we were really fast with Callum and everything was looking really good. Then Agustín hit the wall and that put him completely outside.
“Today, the race track changed because they added some kerbing in one of the corners which wasn’t there yesterday. Callum hit the bottom of the car on it and crashed. So, that meant he missed the whole session and we lost the practice with the green tires.
“So the first time we used the car with the green tires was in qualifying and we had massive understeer. That showed in our quali times, but I think the pace with the black tires was really strong for both drivers and we’re looking forward for the race tomorrow.
“Big thanks to the team for fixing Callum’s car in time for qualifying. It was a big team effort and I’m happy to see that.”