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Kanaan starts 2013 right with fourth-place effort

Mar 24, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT

Tony Kanaan AP

Tony Kanaan battled hard and jumped seven spots to claim fourth place in today’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg — a far better outcome than the 25th-place result he was saddled with last year at St. Pete because of a battery failure.

Kanaan appeared set to battle KV Racing Technology teammate Simona de Silvestro for the podium late, but a surging Marco Andretti got by Kanaan for fourth with five laps remaining. Then, as the field headed for the white flag, Kanaan would follow Andretti past De Silvestro for his final result.

“My car was flawless while on track,” Kanaan said. “The only problem we had during the race was that I couldn’t shift into neutral during my last stop. That cost me three spots on track and made me work a bit more for this fourth place finish. I was impressed that my last set of scuffed red Firestones lasted that long and I can’t say enough about my Chevy engine.”

Kanaan also talked about his teammate’s valiant effort to hang on to third place as the laps ticked down.

“It’s unfortunate that Simona couldn’t hold on for third place,” he said. “She was running strong up front until she had no more tires. She deserved the podium.

“I guess Marco had a newer set of Firestones than both Simona and I, so it was just a matter of time for him to get by us.”

Still, between Kanaan’s fourth and De Silvestro’s eventual sixth, it was a good day overall for the KVRT crew.

“We’re very excited about the results,” team manager Steve Moore said. “We had a couple of issues in the pits, but the drivers and the crews rebounded. It’s not the end result that we wanted, but we’ll take the positives out of it and move on to the next race.”

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