Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Verizon IndyCar Series
QUALIFYING NOTES/QUOTES — Saturday, April 23, 2016
RAHAL QUALIFIED A SEASON-BEST OF SIXTH PLACE FOR THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA; IT IS ALSO HIS BEST START AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
1) Simon Pagenaud 1:06.7262 / 124.089 mph (Group 2, Round 3)
6) Graham Rahal 1:07.6388 / 122.415 mph (Group 1, Round 3)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It will make life a little easier being this far forward. It’s always an interesting race around this place but we’ll just have to see how it plays out tomorrow. I think we have a pretty good race car. Qualifying pace is typically our concern. When other teams can turn it up a bit, we kind of struggle with pace. For us to get in to the Fast Six, the 1:06.8 I did was about as good of a lap as I think I have ever put together here. From comments I’ve heard from others, they are struggling with the rear tires going off a lot in the long run and I don’t really have that problem. We’re going to keep our heads down, keep focused and try to do what we always do, just out race them a little bit. And if we can keep the rear tires under us, save some fuel hopefully to make the end of the race easier so we can attack hard, I think it will put us in a good spot.”
RLL AT BARBER: Rahal brought the team its best start at Barber Motorsports Park today of sixth place. In 2015, Graham Rahal brought the team its previous best starting position of eighth and best finishing position of second here. In 2014, Rahal finished 17th after running as high as 10th but was hit by two cars. Servia started 19th, ran as high as 14th and finished 20th. In 2013, Rahal set a lap time fast enough to progress to Round 2 and qualify in the top-12 if he had been in Group 2 but he was in Group 1 and ultimately qualified 21st. He had to pit for a new nose on the opening lap after the field checked up and he hit Oriol Servia. He moved up to 12th place but ran out of fuel on the final lap due to a malfunction in the fueling system and dropped to 21st. James Jakes qualified 11th in 2013 but had to pit early in the race when the camber shims fell out of the left rear upright which put him two laps down to the leader. He soldiered on through fueling issues, set the fastest lap of the race and finished 23rd. In 2012, Takuma Sato set the third fastest time in Friday’s first practice for the team and was fastest in the wet second session but traffic limited his qualifying performance to 16th. In the race he passed four cars for 12th place on red alternate tires but struggled on primary tires and ultimately retired in 24th place due to mechanical failure after 52/90 laps.
NEXT UP: The pre-race warmup will take place tomorrow from 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. CT and the 90-lap Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will take the green flag at 2:45 local time. Race coverage will begin on NBCSN at 3:00 PM ET Sunday, April 24.
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