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11 April 2010

Moraes leads KV Racing Technology in inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Moraes, the youngest full-time driver on the IZOD IndyCar Series at age 21, moved as high eighth in the 90-lap feature in the No. 32 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car after starting 12th in the 25-car field. The Brazilian driver finished 13th Sunday.

Moraes’ KVRT teammates, E.J. Viso and Takuma Sato, looked to be in position to challenge for top-five finishes Sunday before over 40,000 spectators.

Viso, who hosted Grand Prix Grand Marshal Charles Barkley in his garage before Sunday’s race, started tenth and battled Justin Wilson, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Ryan Briscoe in early wheel-to-wheel action. However, in his first pit stop, Viso stopped prematurely in Moraes’ pit area. The miscue cost the popular Venezuelan some ten spots. He came back to finish 16th in the No. 8 PDVSA - KVRT Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine.

Sato, the Formula One veteran in his third IZOD IndyCar Series race, looked to be very competitive at Barber Motorsports Park after making the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying. The driver of the No. 5 Lotus - KVRT Honda/Dallara/Firestone car waged a tremendous battle with past IndyCar Series champions Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan. However, a throttle part failure left Sato stopped on the course on lap 11. The Lotus crew replaced the part and Sato returned to action 22 laps later. Sato recorded solid laps to finish the event.

The KVRT crew now prepares the three Indy cars for one of the series’ biggest events, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, this weekend (April 16-18).

KVRT team owner Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 Long Beach CART winner, will return to competition on the race track this weekend. The 1996 CART champion will compete against pro racers as well as actors, athletes and singers in the annual Toyota Pro-Celebrity Challenge on Saturday afternoon.

Drivers quotes:

MARIO MORAES, #32 KV RACINGTECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Finished 13th: “Overall it was a good race. Unfortunately, we lost some positions early in the race when my teammate (E. J. Viso) accidentally stopped in my pit box during the first round of pit stops. Because it is so hard to overtake on this track I could not make up those positions. The car was good. It was solid and I was able to run good lap times. It is a shame for the team. They worked hard this weekend to give me a good car and I think we deserved a better finish.”

E.J. VISO, #5 PDVSA - KV RACINGTECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Finished 16th: “It was a disappointing day for our team. It is very difficult to pass here and you had to be patient. I made a mistake on my first pit stop when I stopped at Mario’s (Moraes) pit instead of mine. I am very sorry to my crew for that. It was a tough weekend for us in the chassis setup. The car was not the same as it was at the test (in Feb.). We had a fast car back there. The track conditions were much different with the heat. We were able to improve the car in qualifying, but it still was not as good as it was at the test. I have been fast at Long Beach in the past and so has the KV Racing team. So I am very anxious to get there and perform well next weekend.”

TAKUMA SATO, #5 LOTUS - KV RACINGTECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Finished 25th: “It’s motor racing and things happen but I had a good start and a exciting battle with TK (Tony Kanaan) in the early portion of the race through turns 2, 3, 4 and 5. That was fun. Then we had a throttle part failure and we had to stop. The crew did a good job replacing the part and I was able to rejoin the race. I was racing with many different people today and. despite being down quite a number of laps, it was good experience to run to the end.”