While it's yet to be seen how tire wear will be throughout today's Sao Paulo Indy 300, Dario Franchitti praised Firestone for the performance of their Firehawk slicks during this morning's qualifying session on the 2.6-mile temporary street circuit. Last night, diamond grinding took place on the concrete Sambadromo, which serves as the track's main straightaway.
"The tires have bene good all weekend, it was just an impossible situation with that surface yesterday," said Franchitti after winning the pole for the 75-lap main event (11:30 a.m. ET, Versus). "Today, it's great. The tires are lasting very, very well. The track itself loses grip when it gets really hot, but the tires are lasting very, very well. I'd almost like a bit softer tire."
Firestone's Joe Barbieri took the time to commend IRL and track officials for delaying qualifying to this morning in order to fix the Sambadromo.
"As the drivers all said, it was not a tire situation, but the fact that the [Sambadromo] was just too smooth and provided no friction to create grip," he said. "With the overnight grinding, that area looks good to go for the race today. The Firehawk tires -- both the primary and alternate specifications -- performed quite well this morning, and we're looking forward to an exciting race this afternoon with keey strategies revolving around the drivers' use of the black-sidewall primaries and softer, red-sidewall alternates."