Positive qualifying display for JHR in the Toronto rain
Toronto, OntarioJuly 15, 2023
Juncos Hollinger Racing didn’t allow the wet weather conditions to dampen its performance during qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto this afternoon. Callum Ilott will start tomorrow’s race from P16, while team-mate Agustín Canapino recorded his best NTT INDYCAR qualifying result to date as he secured P18.
Callum and Agustín were both placed in qualifying group two earlier today. While the first group ran on dry asphalt, a heavy burst of rain during the interval drenched the street course and handed the JHR drivers an altogether different challenge as they fought for a strong grid slot.
Firestone’s wet weather tire was bolted onto both the #77 and #78 Dallara-Chevrolets as the session got underway at Exhibition Place. Both Callum and Agustín performed confidently in the slippery conditions, and as the 10-minute qualifying session progressed, their lap times positioned them on the cusp of the top-six.
Callum’s pace meant he ran as high as P5 with a fastest time of 1m 14.875s, but he was pipped by a handful of his rivals in the dying seconds and bumped down to P8. The Briton completed the session less than a tenth of a second shy of progressing into the coveted ‘Fast 12’ run off.
Agustín, who was making his Toronto debut and racing an open-wheel racing car in the wet for the very first time, showed his trademark confidence on the slippery asphalt as some of his more experienced rivals spun or made contact with the wall.
The Argentine rookie was unfazed by the challenge at hand and duly finished P9 in his group with a best lap of 1m 15.454s.
“We did a decent job and were running inside the top six right until the last lap, but I just got pipped by a couple of people late on.”
Callum Ilott said:
“Qualifying was pretty eventful. It rained just before our group’s turn to qualify, so that wasn’t ideal. We did a decent job and were running inside the top six right until the last lap, but I just got pipped by a couple of people late on. That was tough, as I knew we had good pace.
“Now, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race. I know that our car will be competitive in the dry here, so we should be strong.”
“I’m really happy with my performance today, as P18 is my best qualifying result so far this year.”
Agustín Canapino said:
“I’m really happy with my performance today, as P18 is my best qualifying result so far this year. I’m really proud as it was also my first time driving in wet conditions with an INDYCAR.
“I would like to thank the whole team for their efforts. Tomorrow, we have a great opportunity to have a good race.”
“We are really happy as a team and are motivated to continue pushing forwards.”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“I’m really happy with how this weekend has gone so far. We’ve made huge improvements as a team, and both drivers are doing a great job. Unfortunately we qualified in the rain, but we still looked strong. Callum was really close to making it into the top six of the group, while Agustín also did a fantastic job.
“We are really happy as a team and are motivated to continue pushing forwards. The team chemistry is really high, and everyone has made a great effort this weekend. I would like to thank our sponsors, as they make all of this happen.
“Now, we’re looking forward to tomorrow. In the warmup, we will look to understand the tires further as well as the fuel loads and strategy. It will be a great event, as there are a huge number of fans here. They should see a great race tomorrow!”