LEEDS, Ala., Saturday, March 31, 2012 – Canadian David Ostella qualified 14th out of 15 entries today at Barber Motorsports park in the No. 22-Global Precast-Xtreme Coil Drilling car of Team Moore Racing as a late red flag for contact effectively eliminated the team’s chances to move up the grid for the start of Sunday’s 40-lap Firestone Indy Lights race at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
In a calculated move, the team changed to new Firestone tires late in the qualifying session to take advantage of rubber build-up and improve lap times. But their efforts were thwarted as the late red flag cancelled the session without enough heat and pressure built up in the new tires to improve their chances.
“The red flag really caught us up at the end unfortunately,” said Ostella. “We came in to throw on stickers (tires) and were only able to do two laps before the flag came out, so we were not able to get completely up to temperature and see what we had to work with.”
The result was incrementally compounded by the added disadvantage faced by all teams and drivers as a series of light storms washed out the majority of practice Friday afternoon.
Yet Ostella still remains positive about his chances on the manicured twists and blind corners that make up the 2.38 mile undulating landscape of the Barber Motorsports Park road course.
“While we are not happy the circumstances catching us off guard and putting us at the back of the pack, everything looks OK overall,” he said. “We are going to go back and look through the data and see if we can make any set-up changes to produce more speed. The rain washed away some of our grip from yesterday in addition to some much needed track time, but overall it’s not bad. You could say that a positive from today is that our race tires look pretty good as we only did a few laps on them, so now we will just have to look forward and focus on how we can improve our position and move up the grid as best we can.”
Ostella wrapped up his day with a final time of 1:18.7993 to put him in Row 7 on the starting grid for tomorrow’s race.
The Firestone Indy Lights’ race will take place on Sunday, April 1 starting at 11:15 a.m. local time as part of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama weekend. All on-track activity can be heard via the IMS Radio Network at www.indycar.com. A full-race broadcast will air on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) on Thursday, April 5 at 5 p.m. ET.