Sato and Jourdain Jr. Pleased with Race Preparation to Date for the Indy 500; Focus Will Switch to Qualifying Setup Tomorrow


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Indi­anapolis 500 – Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway
IZOD IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES — Thursday, May 17, 2012

SATO AND JOURDAIN JR. PLEASED WITH RACE PREPARATION TO DATE FOR THE INDY 500; FOCUS WILL SWITCH TO QUALIFYING SETUP TOMORROW


1)         Scott Dixon                223.088 mph / 40.3428          88 laps
17)       Takuma Sato             219.900 mph / 40.9277          47 laps
21)       Michel Jour­dain Jr.   219.152 mph / 41.0673          92 laps


TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “We ran less today than we did all of the other days but the balance of the car felt good. We looked at all of the data we collected since early this morning and step-by-step we picked the things we liked.  I am happy with our work today. It was great prepa­ra­tion for Fast Friday.”

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:  “Today was good. We tried some things in traffic but I think the car was a little bit better in the pack yesterday than today. It was good to try new things even though they didn’t work; its valu­able infor­ma­tion.  Tomorrow we are going to trim and we will see how far we can get.  There is a limit on the rear wing on what we can do.  There are a lot of other things that you can do mechan­i­cally and aero­dy­nam­i­cally. I don’t know how far we will get because we haven’t worked at all on the qual­i­fying setup and only have one day to do that. A lot of guys have been working more aggres­sively on that.  Takuma has been working on it and hope­fully that will reduce our learning curve.”
 

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. 

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:  The final day of prac­tice will take place tomorrow.  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