Sato Earned His Best Qualifying Position of 2012 of Fourth for the Edmonton Indy; Set Fastest Time in Round 2 and Will Start Third Due to Penalty of Competitor

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Edmonton Indy – City Centre Airport, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, July 21, 2012



POLE:  Ryan Hunter-Reay          1:17.2338 / 103.664 mph            (Group 2; Time set in Round 3; 10-grid penalty)
4th:       Takuma Sato                  1:17.5526 / 103.238 mph            (Group 1; Time set in Round 3; fastest in R2)

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I really enjoyed qual­i­fying. It’s a fantastic result for the team. The boys are working really well together. After a couple of diffi­cult races, I’m really pleased to be back in the top-six.  It was a good qual­i­fying session.  We were absolutely happy with the balance in the prac­tice session but still we made good progress and showed good perfor­mance in Round 1 of qual­i­fying.  And then of course, Round 2 was my favorite.  I was actu­ally grin­ning under the visor because I love to drive in the wet so much!  I had absolutely no problem in Round 2 and wish we had wet qual­i­fying in Round 3.  But never the less in was a tricky situ­a­tion in Round 3.  Some of the people main­tained a full wet setup on the car with dry (slicks) tires. Some people maybe tried a partial dry (condi­tion) setup. And some, like me, went out first because of the weather predic­tion and some people, like the pole sitter, waited until late. There was a little gambling going on.  Still, to qualify fourth was an outstanding job by the team.  I’m very pleased to start on the inside on the second row which is a great place to start here.  Now we are in the best place to try to avoid the confu­sion going into Turn 1, which is extremely tight, on the opening lap. The farther front you start the better chance you have of having a clean race so I’m partic­u­larly pleased with that.  Whether it will be dry or wet in the race, we know that we will be compet­i­tive.  Having my best start of the season will hope­fully transfer into my best result of the season so far.”

·         FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s third race in Edmonton.  He won pole in 2011 and led 18 laps but was hit by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was penal­ized for “avoid­able contact” with a “drive-through” on Lap 41/80 but went on to finish seventh.  Sato was in second place at the time and ulti­mately finished 21st.  In 2010, he started 13th and finished ninth.  Both with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best road/street course qual­i­fying is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is third in Sao Paulo, Brazil this year… Sato led two street races this season (St. Pete & Long Beach) and at Indi­anapolis Motor Speedway where he nearly won with a last lap pass. 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 for Sato:  “We had a produc­tive prac­tice session this morning and we were able to show our true poten­tial in terms of lap time on new tires at the end of that session.  We made a couple of small changes going into qual­i­fying. It was our first time in Round 3 and the condi­tions were constantly changing through the first two sessions.  We managed to put it all together and Takuma did a very good job to get into Round 2. Obvi­ously it was nice to be quickest in the wet although fairly unrep­re­sen­ta­tive condi­tions.  We saved a good amount of tires for the race tomorrow and we will try to give him a good race car to ensure we can capi­talize on our great grid position.”

SECOND RACE IN EDMONTON FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACINGThe Edmonton Indy will mark the second Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 13th and finished eighth for the team… Team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in his first profes­sional race at Edmonton Inter­na­tional Speedway in May 1975 where he qual­i­fied on the front row in second place in the Player’s Cana­dian Formula Atlantic Series. Elec­trical issues ended his race.

NEXT UP:  Morning warm-up will take place tomorrow from 8:00 – 8:30 a.m. MT and the Edmonton Indy will take the Green Flag at 12:47 p.m. MT.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from  The Edmonton Indy will be tele­vised live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, July 22.