Sato and Jourdain Jr. Complete Another Troublefree Day of Practice for the Indy 500; Two Days Remain Until Qualifying

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Wednesday, May 16, 2012



1)         Josef Newgarden      222.785 mph / 40.3977          61 laps
9)         Takuma Sato             220.843 mph / 40.7506          51 laps
20)       Michel Jourdain Jr.   219.280 mph / 41.0434          82 laps

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a little bit windy today which makes the car a little unstable but it was quite good because we needed to make our car more stable.  The wind was tricky; quite gusty but I think we are happy with the balance.  We worked on our general setup and will now go scan the aero map on the session to record the data.  My long run was cut short today by the red flag and it was a shame that we didn’t run in traffic as much as we wanted but hopefully we will do so tomorrow.  I think it will be quite exciting to start some qualifying setup work tomorrow.”

FAST FACTS: Will be his third Indy 500 and EIGHTH race at IMS after competing in F1 races here in 2002, 2004-07… In the Indy 500, he narrowly missed making it into the Fast Nine in qualifying with his 10th fastest qualifying average for the 2011 race and retired in 33rd place due to contact after 20 laps.  In 2010 he qualified 31st and finished 20th after completing 198/200 laps – both for KV Racing Technology… IMS is the site of Sato’s best F1 finish of third in 2004 – the same year RLL won the Indy 500 with Buddy Rice… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led two of the first three races but failed to finish due to mechanical failure (St. Pete & Barber) and “avoidable contact” by Hunter-Reay (Long Beach) on the final lap en route to a career best finish of third.  When he did finally see the checkered flag, he earned his best series finish to date of third place in Brazil despite starting 25th due to an unapproved engine change… Moved from a 16th-place rank in series points to his highest career series rank to date of seventh with 83.

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR, No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The day was very good. We made very good progress. The first couple of days were about getting me comfortable in the car and with the setup. Finally Monday we were very good by ourselves and yesterday was about running in traffic.  It felt good yesterday but we were not 100 percent. And today I felt really good in the last session. We ran a full tank of fuel and ran it out. I was running in the middle of the group and the car felt good.  It was much fun out there; it was fantastic.  Tomorrow we will run a little mi of both race setup and qualifying setup. We know we didn’t have a lot of time to work on the ultimate qualifying setup so we know we are not going to fight for the top-nine or top-15 so we just want to get a decent qualifying setup where we run good. Then on Friday, of course, we will work on our qualifying setup.”

FAST FACTS: Jourdain is competing in his second Indianapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry is sponsored by Office Depot Mexico with associate sponsorship from Roshfrans, Grupo Indi and Grupo Multi… He qualified eighth and finished 13th in the 1996 Indy 500 race… He is returning to open wheel racing for the first time since 2004… He made 152 starts in the CART/Champ Car World Series and three in the IRL/IndyCar Series (1996/97 season) between 1996-2004… His highest finish in the IRL/IndyCar Series is second place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1996 and he earned two wins in CART/CCWS in 2003 at Montreal and Milwaukee while driving for Team Rahal… With support from Ford Motor Company, he moved to NASCAR’s Nationwide Series from 2005-2008 and also competed in the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. Since then, he competed in various rally and sports car series. 

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motorsport Operations:  “Its Day 5 and the plan is still working. We made more progress on Michel’s and everything is moving forward there. He is asking for the changes we hoped he would so there is more speed tomorrow.  The race simulation of running in traffic today worked really well so we are extremely pleased with the progress there with the balance of the race cars. We are really happy with the way that Bruno (Couprie) and Michel are working together; it’s fantastic.  The track is obviously getting much better as we have now put five days of rubber on it. I can’t remember the last time we have gone five days in a row without rain and it looks like we are going to get all the way through Sunday with that.  Tomorrow everybody is going to be taking some downforce out it because Fast Friday is almost upon us and they are going to throw some more horsepower at us so that will be another challenge.  The cars are balanced pretty well so I am pretty pleased. Takuma was working on race setups today as well. Really we are almost to the final day of race preparation.  We have a chance with Takuma for a possible top-nine and our ultimate goal of a front row so there are big possibilities here. Gerry and Jay are doing a fantastic job there. Jay is also bouncing back and forth between Bruno and Gerry (Hughes) with both cars.  Engineering is right on top of it right now and I am impressed with the job they are doing. So far, everything is going according to plan.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT INDY … The team’s highest start and finish in the event came in 2004 when Buddy Rice won from pole. In addition, the team has earned a total of four podiums (2nd – Meira 2005; 3rd – Rahal 1994, 1995). The team was in contention to win the race as recent as 2011 when Bertrand Baguette led laps 139-140 and laps 189-197 of the 200 lap race. Had a caution come our before Baguette was forced to pit for a splash of fuel, he might have been the victor. The race ultimately ended under caution when JR Hildebrand crashed on the front straight while in the lead on the final lap… The 2012 race will mark the 15th year for the team in the event.  Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 26 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1995), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Jimmy Vasser (2002-2003), Kenny Brack (2003, 2005), Buddy Rice (2004, 2006; DNC 2005 due to practice crash), Vitor Meira (2004, 2005), Roger Yasakawa (2004), Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Jeff Simmons (2006, 2007), Scott Sharp (2007), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008), Oriol Servia (2009), Graham Rahal (2010), Bertrand Baguette (2011) and Jay Howard (2011).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato and No. 30 Office Depot / RLL Racing entry for Michel Jourdain will bring that total to 28 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Practice will take place from May 12-18 for the 96th Indianapolis 500.  Pole day will be Saturday, May 19 and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 11:00-2:30 and 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET.  The second day of qualifying on May 20 will also be aired live on NBC Sports Network from 12:00-6:30 p.m. ET.  The 96th Indianapolis 500 race will be May 27 and will be televised by ABC at 11a.m. (ET) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM 94 and Sirius 212). Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from

PHOTO AND VIDEO AVAILABLE: Media members who register on the IndyCar Series media site have access to photography as well as video. Video will be available specifically of Office Depot/RLL Racing driver Michel Jourdain in Spanish the evening of each practice day (and English most days) via a link that will be sent by the team per request. Register for access to photos at: