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

 

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. COMPLETED ANOTHER TROUBLEFREE DAY OF PRACTICE IN PREPARATION FOR THE INDY 500; ONLY TWO DAYS OF PRACTICE REMAIN BEFORE QUALIFYING
 

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 www.indycar.com.

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: http://www.indycarmedia.com/pages/ApplyforAccess