Sato Was Unable to Make a Qualifying Attempt For the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 Due to Engine Change; Will Start 26th

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 Nestlé – Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil
IZOD IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES – Saturday, April 28, 2012


POLE: Will Power                   1:21.4045 / 122.2611 mph      (set in Round 3)

26th:    Takuma Sato              No time / No speed                

TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It wasn’t a good day for us unfortunately. The first practice session was cut short because the engineers weren’t happy about some parameters and we had to stop early to check the gearbox.  Everything ended up okay but the session was cut short which didn’t help us in terms of setting up the car. And then in the second practice I only ran a few laps before we had an engine problem which led to us not being able to take part in qualifying because of the amount of time it took to change the engine. The long straight with heavy braking here means you can overtake but starting from the back it is going to be tough. We will fight back to gain positions tomorrow and hopefully we will have a strong package.  We will see how the car will be in the warm-up tomorrow.  I don’t mind whether it is a dry race or a wet race. To go from the back of the grid in the wet would be quite difficult in terms of visibility but there is more of a chance to go forward. In a dry race, realistically it would be very difficult to get a top result but nothing is impossible. It will be an exciting race for sure.”


FAST FACTS: Will make his third start at this track. He qualified 10th for the 2010 and 2011 races and his best finish of eighth place came in 2011 after he led 23 laps in the rain-soaked, and then-postponed event – both for KV Racing Technology.  He retired in 22nd in 2010 after contact. In the 2011 race, Sato came up 10 minutes short of potentially claiming his first IZOD IndyCar Series victory. The race was postponed from Sunday due to poor visibility caused by persistent rain and approaching dusk. On Monday, the race resumed from Lap 15-on with a time limit but the rain continued as well.  Sato led Laps 26-48 in the timed race that ended after Lap 55. Had a caution flag come out while Sato was leading, he may have been able to stretch his fuel and claim victory but the race stayed green and he was forced to pit on Lap 48 of what became a 55-lap race and finished eighth, which is his best series finish to date here… Sato competed in Formula One races in Brazil five times (2002, 2004-2007) with a best start and finish of sixth place – both in 2004 for BAR-Honda… Is Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… Sato led two of the first three races but failed to finish due to mechanical failure (St. Pete & Barber) and “avoidable contact” by Hunter-Reay (Long Beach) on the final lap en route to a career best finish of third… Is ranked 16th in series points with 48.

TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motorsport Operations:  “We are obviously not in the position we wanted to be in for the start of tomorrow’s race. We had an engine problem in the second session and a little bit of a transmission problem in the first session so it has been a difficult day mechanically for us.  When it is only a two day event it is obviously not the scenario you want for the driver or engineers.  Fortunately Takuma has been here two years and knows the track well. The engineers are doing a great job with what little information we have been able to give them. In one way we are fortunate that this problem was rectified by taking parts from the spare car and Honda is giving us a fresh engine so we are hoping for a good race result tomorrow. Starting at the back to me isn’t that critical if you are outside the top-10. I think it gives more opportunity with strategy. There are some big windows here and hopefully the race will go the distance with some good weather which hasn’t happened the past two years here.  The fans deserve a full distance race and hopefully we can have that tomorrow. In all probability it will be a three stop race with big windows and Bobby will have an opportunity to make some strategic decisions and put us up front tomorrow.”

RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT SAO PAULO … This will mark the FIRST time for RLL to compete in the Indy car race in Sao Paulo and sixth overall in Brazil.  Team Rahal competed in CART-sanctioned events in Rio de Janeiro from 1996-2000 with Bobby Rahal (1996-1998), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-00), and Kenny Brack (2000).  The best start for the team on the 1.86-mile, D-shaped oval in Rio was third by Rahal in 1997. The team’s best finish in Brazil is fourth, by Herta (1998) and Papis (1999). Over the 10 entries between 1996-00, the team had four top-five and eight top-10 starts as well as two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. (chart available) 

NEXT UP:  Morning- warm-up will take place tomorrow from 8:30-9:00 a.m. local time and the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 will air on NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, April 29.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from