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 TODAYRED FLAG LIMITED SATO’S QUALIFYING ATTEMPT TO 10TH IN HIS GROUP; 10-GRID PENALTY DICTATES23RD 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.