Sato Earned His Best 2012 Qualifying Position of 12th for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – Raceway at Belle Isle Park
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, June 2, 2012


POLE:  Scott Dixon      1:10.3162 / 105.978 mph            (set in Round 3)
12th:     Takuma Sato   1:11.8122 / 103.771 mph            (set in Round 2)

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a difficult day. We did make some progress on the car balance from yesterday in the morning practice session but we were no where near where we wanted to be on the time sheets.  We made some changes and the car behaved better with the alternate Firestone tire and I was able to commit more in qualifying. There is still a lot of work to do but we should be pleased considering it was our best qualifying of the year and we made it to Round 2. We will go through the data and continue to try to improve the car for the race tomorrow. It is difficult to overtake on this track but we will work hard to improve our position with good strategy. It is so easy to lose control of your car here that you need to maintain good concentration.”

FAST FACTS: Earned his best starting position for 2012 of 12th place for his first race in Detroit… His best road/street course qualifying is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is third in Sao Paulo, Brazil this year… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar and it appears to be the start of his best season to date in the series… Sato led two (St. Pete & Long Beach) of the four road/street races this season and three of five overall races after leading – and nearly winning — the Indy 500. Has led 58 laps to date in 2012… In 34 starts in 2010-2011, has 17 career top-10 starting spots including four top-five starts and two poles ( Edmonton and Iowa 2011). He has earned eight top-10 finishes including three top-five spots (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifth at Texas and St. Petersburg in 2011).  Led a total of 61 laps from 2010-11.

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engineer:  “We are making steady progress at a circuit that Takuma nor I know and the team hasn’t been to since 2008. We are just chipping away at it.  We still have a lot to learn and a lot of time to make up but we will try to give Takuma a good car for the race.  All things being equal, we should start 11th on the grid which is his best qualifying performance of 2012 to date so we can only go forward from there.”

1 WIN, 2 PODIUMS FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT DETROIT 2012 will mark the 21st consecutive season of competition for the team and 13th Indy car race in Detroit The team’s highest start of second place and highest finish of first in the event came in the inaugural running on Belle Isle in 1992 by Bobby Rahal.  In total, the team has earned two podiums (Max Papis 2000 – 2nd), three top-five finishes and nine top-10’s here (chart on back page). Prior to 2012, the team prepared a total of 20 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-08).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring that total to 21 in 2012.

NEXT UP:  Morning warm-up will take place from 10:45-11:15 a.m. ET and the 90-lap Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be televised live beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC on Sunday, June 3. Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from