Sato Ran His First Laps at Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Course; Fastest in First Session and 22nd in Second

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – Raceway at Belle Isle Park
IZOD IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES — Friday, June 1, 2012



FASTEST:         Will Power         1:12.8355 / 102.313 mph
22nd:                Takuma Sato     1:15.9058 / 98.174 mph

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “The course is challenging, it really is.  The first corner has so many surface changes from asphalt to concrete.  Overall, it’s quite bumpy; its one of the bumpiest tracks I have ever driven on.  It’s a good circuit; just quite challenging. The morning session was in wet conditions and we ran just to learn the track.  It was quite slippery but it was nice to have a new generation of the Firestone rain tire and it worked really well.  The second session we were able to run in the dry and discovered quite a few things that we need to do but it gave us a good taste for the track and good data to work from to improve tomorrow.”

FAST FACTS: Will make his first start at this track… 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.

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director of Racing Operations:  “It’s a triple play. Takuma hasn’t been to Belle Isle before, we haven’t had this car at Belle Isle before and it’s the first time for our engineer, Gerry Hughes to be at Belle Isle. Today was all about reconnaissance.  We had a good run in the rain so we’re pretty happy with the rain setup. Depending on which forecast you look at, it could rain or maybe not for the race. If it rains we are pretty well set. When everything dried out we found ourselves at the back of the pack but it’s not that disappointing. Today we had had little bit of a technical issue with some sensors in our laser department that weren’t working correctly so we didn’t get as much information as we wanted but I’m fine with our progress going into Saturday. Everything else was working fine on the car.  With these cars, a little bit (of improvement) here and a little bit there and you are back in the ballgame. I’m not worried.”

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:  Practice will take place tomorrow from 9:00-10:00 a.m. ET and qualifying will take place from 11:45 – 1:00 p.m.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from  The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be televised live on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, June 3.