Sato Qualified 18th in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy 200 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, August 4, 2012

 
SATO QUALIFIED 18TH IN THE HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO SPORTS CAR COURSE
 
POLE:   Will Power         1:05.6474 / 123.825 mph            (Group 2; Round 3)
18th:     Takuma Sato     1:06.4404 / 122.347 mph            (Group 2; Round 1)                                
 
TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “I’m disap­pointed in the qual­i­fying result espe­cially since I like the circuit and had a good record the past two years here.  It’s a shame that we didn’t have good speed to go to the next stage of qual­i­fying. The field is very compet­i­tive as usual in Mid-Ohio. We made good progress so we made a big improve­ment from the prac­tice session. Our lap time delta is really ramping up but it wasn’t enough to progress to the next stage. It was only a couple of tenths but we needed a little bit more. We will take the expe­ri­ence from qual­i­fying and the prac­tice sessions and continue to work on it tomorrow.”

  • FAST FACTS: This will be Sato’s third race at Mid-Ohio. Prior to his second (Edmonton) and third place (Brazil) finishes this year, his previous best series finish was fourth at Mid-Ohio in 2011 after he started ninth.  He started third in 2010 but retired in 25th due to contact.  Both 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.

GERRY HUGHES, Race Engi­neer for Sato:  “Whilst it was disap­pointing not to progress into the second qual­i­fying session, for ourselves I think this weekend illus­trates to us that clearly we have a better race car than a qual­i­fying car. We need to take some­thing away from the first two prac­tice sessions and qual­i­fying itself and learn from that. We need to ensure that we give Takuma a good car tomorrow for the race. We will build on what we have learned in the two prac­tice sessions and hope­fully we’ll have a better result for the end of the race than we have seen in qual­i­fying today. I think that whilst it was an improve­ment in terms of what we’ve been able to achieve so far this weekend, clearly there is much further to go in terms of being able to progress from Round 2 into Round 3. Tomorrow will be another learning expe­ri­ence for us in terms of giving him a good race car and learning more about the tires on these road courses.”
 
15TH INDYCAR RACE AT MID-OHIO FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING: The Honda Indy 200 will mark the 15th Indy car event for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and first since 2008 when Ryan Hunter-Reay started 15th and finished 10th for the team. The team also competed in the Atlantic Series race here in 2003 with Danica Patrick and has competed in ALMS races here in 2007 and from 2009 – 2011.  The highest IndyCar finish for the team here is two third place finishes (Rahal 1997, 1998) and the highest start is pole (Herta 1997).  Another front row start came in 1999 (Herta; 2nd).  Prior to the 2012 event, the team prepared a total of 23 Indy car entries for drivers Bobby Rahal (1992 – 98), Mike Groff (1994), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996 – 99), Max Papis (1999 – 2001), Jimmy Vasser (2002), Michel Jour­dain Jr. (2002 – 03) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007 – 2008). The team also prepared a Toyota Atlantic entry (Danica Patrick 2003).  The team has earned TWO podiums (3rd – Rahal 1997, 1998), 9 top-five’s and 13 top-10 finishes at the track.  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will bring the Indy car total to 24 entries in 2012.
 
BOBBY RAHAL AT MID-OHIO: Team co-owner Bobby Rahal competed in 16 IndyCar races here (9 as driver; 7 as owner/driver).  He won two races (1985 from pole, 1986), two poles (1983, 1985), made three front row starts (2nd in 1987), finished on the podium eight of his 16 races (including his final Indy car podium) and earned 9 top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes.  He is the Grand Marshall for the Honda Indy 200 on Sunday.
 
NEXT UP:  Warm-up will take place tomorrow from 8:05 – 8:35 a.m. ET and the Honda Indy 200 will take the Green Flag at 1:00 p.m. with coverage on ABC begin­ning at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, August 5.  Timing and Scoring infor­ma­tion is avail­able for all sessions from www.indycar.com.