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Sao Paulo qualifying moved to race day

Work on the new street circuit in Sao Paulo has seen qualifying for the opening round of the 2010 IndyCar Series moved to Sunday.
A tricky road surface in Sao Paulo has seen race officials decide to postpone qualifying for the opening round of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series delayed until the morning of raceday.

The knock-out session will now take place just four hours before the scheduled start of the Sao Paulo Indy 300, after drivers reported that they were unhappy with the slippery concrete surface of the Anhembi Sambodromo straight, particularly the transition from asphalt to concrete, and the 180-degree turn eleven leading onto the front straight.

"We continue to work with circuit designer Tony Cotman and the promoter to fine tune the track with the feedback we've received from the drivers," an official IRL statement explained.

"This process is no different than any other new circuit we visit for the first time. Tony has done a great job creating a fast and racy track that will be a challenge to these world-class competitors, while putting on a great show for our enthusiastic fans. We appreciate our drivers' feedback as we want to make this a track they will enjoy to drive."

Cotman requested that grinding equipment be brought in to roughen the surface at the end of the day, and qualifying was replaced by an hour-long practice session, the third of the weekend, taking track time over 200 minutes for the entire field.

"We want to have the concrete have a little bit more bite to it," Cotman commented to the official series website, "We're also dealing with concrete that's a little uneven, as you do when you lay it in sections."

"This is probably the first time the concrete is actually shiny and the rubber compound is not sticking to the concrete for whatever the reason.

The earlier sessions had seen Verizon Team Penske's Will Power topping the timesheets, ahead of Andretti Autosport veteran Tony Kanaan. The top 14 runners were split by a single second.

“I like the circuit, [but] I think it was a good decision to [let us] qualify [on Sunday]," Power admitted, "It is a little tough going down the slippery start/finish straight. Everyone got closer towards the end of [final practice], which will make qualifying tighter.”

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