Sato and Jourdain Jr. Ended Practice Day 3 For the Indy 500 9th and 28th Respectively; Both Made Progress Today

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indi­anapolis 500 – Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES / QUOTES — Monday, May 14, 2012


1)         Josef Newgarden      222.486 mph / 40.4519          47 laps

9)         Takuma Sato             220.090 mph / 40.8924          34 laps

28)       Michel Jour­dain        215.970 mph / 41.6725          35 laps

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was another produc­tive day. The condi­tions were very stable so we were able to try quite a few aero config­u­ra­tions to scan the data and complete an aero map. We are happy with the result today. I haven’t been using the tow in the last two and a half days so at the end of our test program we got a little tow to see how the gearing was and how the car felt in that situ­a­tion. The speed on the timesheet was obvi­ously a little arti­fi­cial but I was happy with how the car felt. Tomorrow we will start working on the race setup.”


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:  “We didn’t run too much today.  We had a little problem with a fuel pump but we are still going according to schedule; building up speed little by little and working on getting my confi­dence back.  Today was my first day to work with my engi­neer Bruno. He was in Laguna Seca for the team’s ALMS race so we are going through data and we made some little changes today. We have more changes planned for tomorrow but for now I am quite happy with the way things are going.
     (On favorite Indy 500 memo­ries:) “I wasn’t here in 1989 when my uncle Bernard won Rookie of the Year but I came in 1991 and that was my present for my 15th birthday.  I enjoyed it so, so much.  For me the tradi­tion of this race is fantastic.  Every time I go through Gaso­line Alley people say hello, that they are happy to see me return and every­thing. I didn’t expect so many people to remember me and be so nice.”

FAST FACTS: Jour­dain is competing in his second Indi­anapolis 500 race. His No. 30 Honda-Dallara-Firestone entry will be 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 of Motor­sport Oper­a­tions:  “We started the day with Michel on track and unfor­tu­nately we had a little bit of a fuel pres­sure issue with the Honda system this morning which negated running from 12 – 3 which was our initial plan.  Fortu­nately we were able to repair the problem and get back out to where Michel had a good run during perfect condi­tions in ‘Happy Hour’ as we say here in Indy from 5 – 6 p.m. in the final hour and were able to run in traffic.  Michel is running at the full poten­tial of the car in its current aero settings. We are just making sure that we are giving him plenty of track time and making him work with all the adjust­ments in the car and totally famil­iar­izing himself with all of the adjust­ments before we start to trim the car as we have with Takuma. Takuma is right at the top of the charts so we are very pleased with the engi­neering staff at the moment. They are doing a good job and Takuma is doing a good job on his feed­back.  It’s a leading plat­form which Michel, in another two days of good track time, I believe that by Friday and Saturday Michel will be close to his full poten­tial. We are very happy with our program; we are still exactly to the plan.  The weather is coop­er­ating and all is well.”

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: