Sato Third Fast in Practice for Honda Grand Prix of Alabama; Also Set Fastest Time in Wet Afternoon Practice


Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Honda Indy Grand Prix of AlabamaBarberMotorsportsPark
IZOD IndyCar Series
NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, March 30, 2012




FASTEST:         Will Power         1:11.2886 / 116.148 mph
3rd:                    Takuma Sato     1:11.5608 / 115.706 mph            (fastest in wet P2 at 1:18.8684) 


TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was a very productive day. After the test here in late February we came back with a much better understanding. Today the conditions were a lot warmer than in February so the car responded different.  I was reasonably happy with the balance and hoped that we could improve in the afternoon but unfortunately it rained during the second session and we only ran a couple of laps. We made some changes to the car between sessions and although it was wet conditions, it felt better so I hope we have a strong package tomorrow.”


FAST FACTS: Will make his third start at this track. He qualified 11th here in 2011 and finished 16th and qualified sixth in 2010 and finished 15th – both for KV Racing Technology… Will be Sato’s first season at RLL and third in

IndyCar… Sato led the season-opener in St. Pete two times for a total of 11 laps. He qualified 15th and passed three cars on the start, passed three cars on the second (re)start and two on another to move to the lead two times. He pitted from the lead for his final stop and suffered a mechanical failure that resulted in a 22nd place finish… 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).  He has led a total of 61 laps.


INDY 500 HELMET CONTEST: Sato is holding a “With you Japan” Charity Design Contest and the winner’s design will be featured on his Indy 500 helmet.  The winner will be chosen April 6. For more information log on to:


JAY O’CONNELL, Technical Director:  “We are pleased with the progress we have made since we first tested here in February.  We took the lessons we learned at the open test in Sebring and at the St. Pete race and applied them to this track.  In St. Pete, we continued to understand the car better and how to make it meet Takuma’s needs and improve the balance at low and high speed. The street course has a lot lower speeds and different tires then here but the low speed characteristics of the car in St. Pete carry over here in some ways.  The things we did to help the car at low speed in St. Pete helped us at Barber as well in the low speed corners.”


RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT BARBER… 2012 will mark the 21st consecutive season of competition for the team.  It will be the first IndyCar Series race for the RLL at Barber.  The team is hoping to carry the momentum from the season-opener in St. Pete to Barber after having led two times for a total of 11 laps with Sato.


NEXT UP:  Practice will take place tomorrow from 8:00-8:20 a.m. CT and qualifying will take place from 9:40-10:55 a.m.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from  NBC Sports Network will air a qualifying show at 4:00 p.m. ET Saturday, March 31.  The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live on NBC Sports Network at 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday, April 1.