Sato Held an 8-Second Lead in Baltimore At One Point But Retired in 21st Due to a Fuel Pressure Problem

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Balti­more Grand Prix – Balti­more, Mary­land
IZOD IndyCar Series
RACE NOTES/QUOTES — Sunday, September 2, 2012

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The start of the race was a tough one due to the chicane.  Where I started, which was basi­cally at the back of the grid, it was already green for me before the chicane, around Turn 12. After a few laps I settled into a rhythm as it was diffi­cult to over­take at that point.  But then the weather really helped me a lot. It started raining and I was grin­ning a little bit of course.  It was strange weather. On the main straight it was quite wet, more than damp, and on the back straight it was dry.  We just stayed on our program. It was diffi­cult condi­tions and a lot of people came in to change to wet tires but we decided to stay on dry tires and I made a huge jump and was in fifth. We over­took on the restarts and led the race, and we led comfort­ably.  But then unfor­tu­nately the problem started – I think a fuel pres­sure problem. The engine started coughing and I started to lose power; espe­cially on the restart, there was just no power and a bunch of the drivers over­took me. Every restart was diffi­cult and in the end it was diffi­cult to select the gears due to some engine response I think.  In the end we had to stop which is a big shame. The boys did a tremen­dous job and some really hard work over the course of the weekend with changing the engine twice. We worked through it and had a really compet­i­tive race and I am really proud of that so it’s just a shame that we couldn’t bring home a good result today.”

  • FAST FACTS: Started 23rd, and with the help of strategy that took into consid­er­a­tion inter­mit­tent rain that differed around the track, he moved into fifth then on into the lead from Laps 24 – 35. He ulti­mately retired in 21st place due to a fuel pres­sure problem after completing 50 of 75 laps… This was Sato’s second race at Balti­more. He qual­i­fied 26th and finished 18th here in 2011 with KV Racing Tech­nology… His best road/street course qual­i­fying is pole at Edmonton in 2011 and his best finish is second in Edmonton 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.

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motor­sports Oper­a­tions: “The Bobby Rahal School of Strategy was working magic today. Takuma was able to come from 23rd to first and was running strong. Our engi­neer Gerry Hughes and Takuma put together a good handling car today and it was great to be back on pace. During the restart where Takuma lost four or five posi­tions, we started to incur a fuel pres­sure drop from the engine. Right now we’re not sure, without inspecting the fuel cell, on whether it’s a fuel pump, fuel pres­sure valve, loose line or any of the other possi­bil­i­ties. As we were losing pres­sure during that run, we pitted a bit early to refuel the tank but the problem continued and wors­ened until he was 10-seconds slower. From a safety stand­point we made the deci­sion to park the car.  It was a great run by Takuma, a great job by the engi­neers and Bobby and the team. Unfor­tu­nately we didn’t see the result today.”
NEXT UP:  The series will take next weekend off before recon­vening for the 2012 IndyCar Series Season finale at Auto Club Speedway on September 15.