Sato and Jourdain Jr. Made Progress on Their Race Setups on Day 4 of Practice for the Indy 500

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indianapolis 500 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Tuesday, May 15, 2012



1)         Marco Andretti          223.676 mph / 40.2367          55 laps

9)         Takuma Sato             220.843 mph / 40.7530          77 laps

27)       Michel Jourdain Jr.   218.006 mph / 41.2833          72 laps

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We keep saying we had another productive day but that is the case. The warm weather and light wind made for stable conditions which made it easy to evaluate some aerodynamic things that we carried over from yesterday. Then we moved on to our race set-up and it was good to see progress.  In the end I was able to run in traffic and see how the car felt and everything felt good. We will keep working on this 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:  “It was a really good day for us; we are making progress every day. We ran a lot of laps and made some good changes to improve the car every time. It is much better and I am more confident with the car and with running closer to some cars. We are still not running extremely close to them but we are making progress in every sense. 

“I have said that this is a professional project but one that is very personal to me in many ways and one of them is that my two oldest kids are coming to the race. They weren’t old enough to fully understand it before but the two oldest are now.  Silvia is three and this will be too much for her but Michel and Marco, who are seven and five years old, can’t wait. Every day they ask me ‘How many days until we come?’  The other day I told them ‘Its 15 days’ and they said ‘I thought you said 14 yesterday.’ They are really, really excited about coming.  We are making small suits like my driving suit for them. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

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. 

JAY O’CONNELL, Technical Director:  “Both cars did a lot of running today; each car ran over 70 laps so one-third of the race distance.  Michel did a lot of good running to increase his experience and confidence and was able to get up to 218 mph. He felt much more comfortable running behind cars, running in traffic and doing some race simulation. On Takuma’s side, he also did some great long race runs on two different sets of tires. The first set, he ran more on his own, was very consistent, and did some flat-out running, learning to use his tools. And on the second run he was in a lot of traffic, playing with other cars and made some good progress learning good lessons for the race.  Tomorrow we will still run in race trim, proving out some racing parts and setups. Thursday and Friday we will be back in qualifying mode getting ready for qualifying on Saturday.”

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: