Sato Set the Fourth Fastest Time in Practice But a Red Flag Limited His Qualifying Attempt; Ten-Spot PenaltyDictates A 23rd Place Start

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Baltimore Grand Prix – Baltimore, Maryland
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, September 1, 2012
 
AFTER SETTING THE FOURTH FASTEST TIME IN PRACTICE TODAY A RED FLAG LIMITED SATO’S QUALIFYING ATTEMPT TO 10TH IN HIS GROUP; 10-GRID PENALTY DICTATES A 23RD PLACE START
 
FASTEST:         Will Power         1:17.9750 / 94.184 mph              (set in Round 3)
19th:                  Takuma Sato     1:24.5395 / 86.871 mph              (set in Round 1)
 
TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a very frustrating qualifying session. We had a positive morning in the practice session. It started with rain and then in the end we had a few laps in the dry which gave me a very positive feeling compared to yesterday. We made good progress so we were happy with the balance and were looking forward to qualifying.  I was on a warm up lap and the difference between driver (in rank) was only a half lap.  I was in the middle of my second lap and other drivers had completed their second lap when the red came out and I was only warming up.  I didn’t even have a chance to go which is a big shame.  I guess the positive that we take away is that we are back on a good pace. Hopefully in the morning warm-up we make another small step and have a strong afternoon.”

  • FAST FACTS: Set the fourth fastest time in the morning practice. Was only on his second timed lap when the red flag came out that ultimately ended the session. The drivers who took to the track early in the session benefitted and easily progressed to Round 2 while Sato was 10th in his group when the red flag came out… This will be 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.

 
GERRY HUGHES, Race Engineer for Sato: “Given that we spent a lot of time last night analyzing data from both practice sessions on Friday and made some wholesale changes to the car setup overnight I think our pace in the third practice this morning reflected how far we have moved forward with the setup specific to the circuit. We felt reasonably happy with our performance this morning although we know there was more time to come from the car and also from Takuma getting a clean lap.  It’s a shame to have what essentially would have been a good run in qualifying thwarted by a red flag. We certainly haven’t shown our true pace in qualifying today. Clearly we need to make sure we give Takuma a good car for tomorrow’s race. That just sums up our season so far.”
 
FIRST INDYCAR RACE AT BALTIMORE FOR RLL RACING: The Baltimore Grand Prix will mark the first IndyCar race for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) here and SECOND overall after competing in the ALMS race last year. Last year at Baltimore, the team’s ALMS GT program – BMW Team RLL — qualified on pole (No. 55) and in third (No. 56). The No. 55 car was taken out of the lead by contact from a Corvette and the team finished fifth (No. 55) and second (No. 56).  The No. 15 entry for Takuma Sato will be the first Indy car entry in this race.
 
NEXT UP:  Warm up will take place tomorrow from 9:45-10:15 a.m. ET.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The qualifying show for the Baltimore Grand Prix will be televised tonight on NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET and the 75-lap race will air live on the same network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, September 2.