Mixed weather brings tricky qualifying for JHR drivers in Nashville
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEEAugust 5, 2023
Callum Ilott and Agustín Canapino faced a challenging qualifying session for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix as heavy rain earlier today gave way to drier conditions late this afternoon. The duo will therefore line up in P18 and P23 respectively on tomorrow’s race grid.
Juncos Hollinger Racing’s drivers were made to wait for their qualifying chance as extreme wet weather halted today’s session for more than three hours. Limited running in the dry during practice gave the teams a reduced opportunity to dial in a strong set-up for the dry qualifying shoot-out on downtown Nashville’s bumpy street course.
Callum and Agustín were allocated separate qualifying groups and the Argentine rookie was first up. The 33-year-old had performed well and claimed P10 in this morning’s rain-soaked practice. He was hopeful he could replicate that form in qualifying.
Firestone’s softer green sidewall tires served Agustín’s #78 Dallara-Chevrolet well and he spent much of the 10-minute session inside the top-six.
However, his hopes of reaching the ‘Fast 12’ on his first Nashville appearance were dashed late on when his rivals found some late speed. Agustín saved his best lap for the sixth and final run, clocking 1m 16.690s to finish P12 in his group.
Callum was up next and started his qualifying bid on Firestone’s primary tires. The Briton used his previous Nashville experience to good effect and also sat on the cusp of the top six as the session progressed.
In the final few minutes, he switched to soft tires to boost his qualifying chances but his best lap time of 1m 16.017s couldn’t lift him any higher than P9 in what was a very tough qualifying group.
“Overall, we were strong in a tough qualifying group. There were lots of top teams within that group, so it was always going to be difficult.”
Callum Ilott said:
“Overall, we were strong in a tough qualifying group. There were lots of top teams within that group, so it was always going to be difficult.
“It’s been a tricky weekend so far with the weather. Not being able to get much running has made it hard to develop, but we will keep striving forwards. I’ll be starting P18 tomorrow, so I’ll see what the race brings.”
“I will line up in P23 for the race, but I wanted more. Honestly, I didn’t read the car well today and yesterday in the dry conditions.”
Agustín Canapino said:
“I will line up in P23 for the race, but I wanted more. Honestly, I didn’t read the car well today and yesterday in the dry conditions. In the rain, we have been really good. We got P10 in practice, and the car was really strong. For some reason, this did not continue in the dry. Tomorrow, I will try my best to have a good race and take home some points for the team.”
“It has been a crazy weekend with both rainy and dry periods, and today was tough in qualifying. ”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“It has been a crazy weekend with both rainy and dry periods, and today was tough in qualifying. We couldn’t really try a setup for dry conditions on the car, and we didn’t have the speed that we were hoping for as a result.
“Both drivers did a really good job in the rain earlier today. We felt comfortable in practice, but the pace was not there in the dry qualifying session.
“I’m really happy with the team and all of their hard work. We will see where we can improve before tomorrow’s race, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Rasmus Lindh and new team-mate Victor Franzoni were unable to showcase their speed earlier today as qualifying for the INDY NXT by Firestone Music City Grand Prix was cancelled due to the inclement weather.
Tomorrow’s starting lineup in Nashville has been decided by entrant points, meaning Victor will line up in P9 while Rasmus will start from P12.
Juncos Hollinger Racing’s junior drivers made a strong start to the day in this morning’s practice session. Both will be encouraged by their early performance, as Swede Rasmus climbed to P6 while Victor drove confidently and finished P18.
“It will be good to be back racing again in INDY NXT, and the team has done an amazing job so far this weekend.”
Victor Franzoni said:
“I’m really excited for tomorrow’s race as P9 is a good position to begin from. I have recorded more laps in the rain than in the dry, and it looks like it’s going to be dry tomorrow.
“It will be good to be back racing again in INDY NXT, and the team has done an amazing job so far this weekend. My biggest goal is to finish the race and be in the top ten. That would be a very good result for the team.”
“I was happy with that and was looking forward to showing my speed in qualifying, but it wasn’t to be.”
Rasmus Lindh said:
“I think it’s unfortunate how the grid has been decided for the race tomorrow. We were looking pretty good in practice, especially as it was the first time here for the team and me. I was happy with that and was looking forward to showing my speed in qualifying, but it wasn’t to be. Now, I’ll get my head down for tomorrow.”
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