Strong qualifying performance for JHR in Portland
Portland, OregonSeptember 2, 2023
Juncos Hollinger Racing showed excellent pace in today’s Grand Prix of Portland qualifying, with Callum Ilott securing his best qualifying pace of the season to start Sunday’s race from P8. Team-mate Agustín Canapino claimed P19 after penalties for his rivals.
Both men drove in separate NTT INDYCAR qualifying groups at the 1.9-mile Portland International Raceway this afternoon. Callum was up first in Group 1, and he started on Firestone’s primary tires.
The Briton looked likely to progress into the ‘Fast 12’ from the beginning, but a mid-session switch to the alternate tire elevated the #77 Dallara-Chevrolet’s pace even further. After momentarily rising to P1 in the group, Callum ended the 10-minute session in P6 to ensure a place in Round 2 for the first time this season.
Agustín was next to qualify in Group 2, and he started strongly on the red sidewall tire. The Argentine set his fastest time of 58.775s after only three laps and entered the pit road with five minutes on the clock in P3. However, the 33-year-old’s rivals picked up the pace in the final moments and his P10 finish was less than two tenths away from progression into the ‘Fast 12’.
Callum confidently navigated the Portland road course in qualifying Round 2, using his experience of the track from 2021 and 2022. The 24-year-old consistently recorded times which placed him on the cusp of the top six. Callum’s best lap time of 58.4973s was just 0.172s away from a place in the ‘Firestone Fast 6’, earning him a P8 starting spot for Sunday’s 216-mile Grand Prix.
Both drivers later consolidated their pace in Final Practice. Callum and Agustín’s P2 and P6 respective finishes give the team cause for optimism ahead of the penultimate round of the season.
“Qualifying was very positive; we had a good car and managed to put together a great performance.”
Callum Ilott said:
“Qualifying was very positive; we had a good car and managed to put together a great performance. I also think that there is a little bit more pace to get out of the car, which is very positive. To get my first top-10 of the year in qualifying is a great result.
“It should definitely be a strong race tomorrow, as we finished in the top-10 here last year. The race pace is good, we just have to stay out of trouble and do a good job.”
“I am happy with that qualifying performance. We will start tomorrow’s race from P19 after penalties to our rivals are applied, so we have a good chance to perform well on Sunday.”
Agustín Canapino said:
“I am happy with that qualifying performance. We will start tomorrow’s race from P19 after penalties to our rivals are applied, so we have a good chance to perform well on Sunday. Now let’s try to take home some points and finish the weekend in the best position possible.”
“I’m very happy with the team. We finally got into the top-12 and Callum did a fantastic job to almost get into the top-6 as well.”
Ricardo Juncos said:
“I’m very happy with the team. We finally got into the top-12 and Callum did a fantastic job to almost get into the top-6 as well.
“Agustín did a really good job in his first time at the track and was only one-and-a-half tenths away from making it out of his qualifying group as well.
“I’m also really happy with our performance in Final Practice. I think that we’re showing good potential as well as the efforts of the whole year so far. I’m pleased for the team and their hard work. Now we will look forward to a great race tomorrow.”
Juncos Hollinger Racing’s junior team faced mixed fortunes at today’s INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix of Portland qualifying, when Victor Franzoni claimed P6 and teammate Matthew Brabham finished P17.
Victor’s assured performance on the 1.9-mile road course resulted in a 1m 3.220s fastest lap and his best starting position of the season so far for tomorrow’s 35-lap race.
Matthew also made an impressive start to the 8-minute qualifying session but a subsequent spin meant the Australian-American’s time was not counted.
“Qualifying was very good today. We made good progress in the car during the practice sessions and the track time was very beneficial.”
Victor Franzoni said:
“Qualifying was very good today. We made good progress in the car during the practice sessions and the track time was very beneficial.
“I think that we could be even quicker, but overall I’m happy. I’m really pleased with the team; everyone did an amazing job and I think that we will be very strong in the race tomorrow.”
“It was not my day today, but the team did a great job with Victor. I had a spin and got my lap taken away which was disappointing.”
Matthew Brabham said:
“It was not my day today, but the team did a great job with Victor. I had a spin and got my lap taken away which was disappointing.
“Now I’m going to work hard for tomorrow’s race, as the team have done a great job this weekend. Even though I’ll be starting from the back, a lot of factors played into it and I’m looking forward to going again tomorrow.”