Bruno Junqueira says he has no qualms about going into the Indianapolis 500 with just a handful of practice laps under his belt, as he is confident that the FAZZT team's car will be competitive.
The 2002 Indy polesitter was signed to drive FAZZT's second car two months ago, but a sponsorship issue then threw the deal into doubt. He sat out the practice week – bar a few laps in Sebastian Saavedra's car to assist rookie team Bryan Herta Autosport with its setup – and only got out in the second FAZZT entry on Sunday morning, when its main sponsor B&W offered to extend some of its funding from Alex Tagliani's car to Junqueira's.
"They stepped up at the last minute when I didn't get the money," Junqueira explained. "B&W said, 'No, you are part of the team, and we want to help your car, as well.' So they made it possible."
Junqueira only managed two flat-out laps in morning practice as the session was interrupted by Tony Kanaan's crash and he then had gearbox problems. But despite this, he was the fastest Bump Day qualifier and will start 25th, having achieved a speed that would have gotten him in the top six on Pole Day. It was the Brazilian's first run in an IndyCar since his similarly last-minute Indy entry with Conquest last year, when he qualified but had to hand his car to Tagliani for the race.
"I have to thank the team. They gave me a good car," he said. "I think it says a lot about my experience. I have always enjoyed and felt very comfortable in Indianapolis. I know my way to go really fast here. But they gave me a fast car, as well."
With no time for any race practice bar Friday's Carb Day hour, Junqueira said he can trust the setups that Tagliani came up with while doing race practice yesterday.
"I think we're going to have a competitive car for the race," he said. "We're not going to have much practice time, maybe Carb Day. But Tags is going to go for the race setup, and I hope he can give me a good race setup. The cars are fast, and I'm happy. I'm so happy."