Takuma Sato Had Trouble-Free Practice Sessions on Opening Day of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Season

FASTEST:      Will Power       1:02.0077 / 104.503 mph

18th                Takuma Sato   1:02:9594 / 102.923 mph                   


TAKUMA SATO, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone:  “It was the first day of the season and basically it was a trouble-free day which is very important. We collected as much data as possible and had a long list of things to do today but the learning process was quite good.  It was good to see the boys able to work on pit stops in a race environment for the first time too. We will continue to work hard tomorrow.”


FAST FACTS: Will make his third start at this track.  He qualified 11th in 2011 and finished fifth and qualified 11th in 2010 and retired in 22nd place after contact in 2010 – both for KV Racing Technology… Will be Sato’s first season at RLL and third in IndyCar… 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.


TOM ANDERSON, Managing Director Motorsport Operations:  “It was the first day of the season and everyone is learning how to work together on a race weekend.  You never understand people’s personalities until you work with them on race weekend. Now the adrenaline starts to flow and you start to learn about your people. We had to assess a baseline and go from there. We made a few mistakes this morning with the new software which held us up a little bit. Other little issues cropped up which is not unusual; its just a matter of learning how to work with each other and how much instruction is needed for each different personality because when you haven’t worked with people before, if you give too much you insult them and if you don’t give enough the job doesn’t get done correctly.  In most cases right now, we are in situations where we haven’t given enough instructions. We will build each day so tomorrow will be better than today and so on. All in all, I am happy. Takuma has been driving hard today and there are things we can do to make the car more to his liking.  It is the first IndyCar weekend for (race engineer) Gerry Hughes and he is getting acclimated to the way the series works after coming from Formula One as is (technical director) Jay O’Connell, who has been focused on our successful sports car program for the past few years.”


RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING AT ST. PETE… 2012 will mark the 21st consecutive season of competition for the team.  It will be the fifth IndyCar race for the team in St. Pete and the ninth car entered. The team prepared Indy cars for Danica Patrick (2005, 2006), Buddy Rice (2005, 2006), Vitor Meira (2005), Jeff Simmons (2007), Scott Sharp (2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2008) prior to this year. The team led the race for four laps with Hunter-Reay in 2008 (G. Rahal won) and has earned three top-10 finishes with the best being fifth by Meira in 2005.  The highest starting position by the team is sixth place by Hunter-Reay in 2008.


NEXT UP:  Practice will take place tomorrow morning from 9:55-10:55 a.m. ET and qualifying will take place from 1:55-3:15 PM.  Timing and Scoring information is available for all sessions from www.indycar.com.  The season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be televised live on ABC at 12:30 PM ET Sunday, March 25.