2011 Polesitter Sato Returns to Edmonton in Hopes of Picking Up Where He Left Off


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 21st Season
Pre-Race Notes
Edmonton Indy – Edmonton City Centre Airport
Round 11 of 15 in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series

 

DATE:                                       July 20 – 22, 2012

QUALIFYING BROADCAST:    LIVE on www.indycar.com (timing & scoring with audio commentary)

RACE BROADCAST:                Live on Sunday, July 22 at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network

RADIO BROADCAST:               The race will air on IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM (XM 94 & Sirius 212)

TRACK LAYOUT:                      2.224-mile, 13-turn street course

RACE LENGTH:                        75 laps / 166.8 miles

2011 WINNER:                          Will Power

2011 POLESITTER:                  Takuma Sato (101.971 mph)

SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET START:            Pole at Edmonton in 2011

SATO’S HIGHEST
ROAD/STREET FINISH:            Third in Sao Paulo 2012

SATO AT EDMONTON:             In two events here, Sato’s best start is pole in 2011 and best finish is ninth in 2010

RLL’S TOP START/
FINISH AT EDMONTON:           Highest start of 13th and finish of eighth came in 2008 by Ryan Hunter-Reay

 

NEWS & NOTES:

SECOND INDYCAR RACE IN EDMONTON FOR RLL RACING
The Edmonton Indy will mark the second Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 13th and finished eighth for the team.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will be the team’s second entry in Edmonton.

EDMONTON WAS THE SITE OF RAHAL’S SUCCESSFUL CAREER
RLL Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in his first profes­sional race at Edmonton Inter­na­tional Speedway in May 1975 where he qual­i­fied on the front row in second place in the Player’s Cana­dian Formula Atlantic Series. Elec­trical issues ended his race.  Three Indy car cham­pi­onships, a win in the 1986 Indy 500 and other acco­lades followed.

SATO ON THE NEW EDMONTON LAYOUT AND HIS 2011 POLE-WINNING EFFORT
This will be Sato’s third race in Edmonton after having competed here with KV Racing Tech­nology the previous two years. He won pole in 2011 and led 18 laps but was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay while second.  Hunter-Reay was penal­ized for “avoid­able contact” with a “drive-through” on Lap 41/80 but went on to finish seventh while Sato ulti­mately finished 21st.  In 2010, he started 13th and finished ninth.
      
Edmonton used to have a series of ultra high-speed corners but now it’s all about low speed turns.  It has got a couple of long straights followed by very tight hair­pins so to have strong braking stability and trac­tion are very impor­tant.  The new pave­ment and new part of the course is very smooth but we still use the old part of the complex and they are quite bumpy. After the radical course change last year, although it still includes the old part of the track, it’s almost a brand-new circuit. No one had an advan­tage or knowl­edge of the new track and everyone started from a clean sheet of paper which helped me a lot. I usually love the high speed corners so the new track layout isn’t neces­sary my favorite (of the two) but I do enjoy this new track because of heavy braking and it did work pretty well for me.”

SATO ON HIS 2011 RACE AND WHAT LED TO HIS DROP FROM SECOND PLACE TO THE BACK
“I led the race after starting from the pole but lost some posi­tions when I strug­gled with the balance of the car, then we lost another few places during the pit stop but I made a good restart and gained back my posi­tions on the first lap. After the restart I over­took a few cars and I thought I made my race a new race as I was running second but I was hit by another car from the back at the first hairpin – Turn 3 I think — and I lost the drive. By the time the marshal started my engine, I was already a lap down so I could do a very little from there.”

SATO ON GETTING OFF TOFAST START IN EDMONTON
“Although we lost the very first prac­tice session due to rain I felt very posi­tive in the second prac­tice session in dry condi­tions.  I was very comfort­able in the car so I was able to commit right away to working on the qual­i­fying setup and was very happy to achieve the pole. We cele­brated my second pole and that was special memory.”

SATO ON EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS YEAR’S EDMONTON INDY
“I expect we will be compet­i­tive at Edmonton. Obvi­ously the team doesn’t have last year’s data but we were in good shape in the street course and heavy braking track so we should be strong there.”

SATO ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIS POLES IN IOWA AND EDMONTON
Takuma earned his first two series poles last season. The first came on the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway oval and the second came two races later at Edmonton.
      
“Winning the pole in Edmonton meant a lot.  The Iowa pole was very special as it was my very first one but the Edmonton pole was not only the second pole, it was my first on a road course and it was such a great feeling.”

SATO IN CANADA; FORMULA ONE AND INDY CAR
Sato competed in five Formula One events in Canada, at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve between 2002 – 2007 with his best start of sixth coming in 2005 with British Amer­ican Racing (Honda) and his best finish of sixth coming in 2007 with Super Aguri (Honda) where he scored three cham­pi­onship points.  He competed in four IndyCar Series races in Canada from 2010 – 2011 with his best start of pole in Edmonton in 2011 and best finish of 9th at Edmonton in 2010.  This will be Sato’s third race in Edmonton.

SATO ON THE PHYSICALITY OF DRIVING THE DW12 COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS CHASSIS
The DW12 chassis was intro­duced this season and Sato believes driver input was increased.  “As steering kick-back is much more than last year and the car goes faster too, we are required to keep and improve good phys­ical perfor­mance. It requires more stamina and more from the whole body too.”

SATO’S SEASON TO DATE
Sato has run compet­i­tively in most races to date this season although his 17th place rank in series stand­ings with a total of 176 points does not reflect that perfor­mance.  He is only 39 points from a top-10 rank (10th: Servia, 215 pts).  He led three races to date and ran as high as second, fourth and sixth in four others.  His top finish to date this season is a career-best finish of third in Brazil.

CANADIAN DOUBLE-HEADER FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING
The team will compete in not one but two races in Canada on Sunday, July 22.  The IndyCar Series team will race in the Edmonton Indy while BMW Team RLL will compete in a 2 hour 45 minute race at Mosport Inter­na­tional Raceway that will take the check­ered flag two minutes (12:00 – 2:45 ET) before the Green Flag is waived in Edmonton at 12:47 MT.  BMW Team RLL fields two BMW M3’s for drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Jörg Müller and Bill Auberlen.

- RLL –