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: