Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Verizon IndyCar Series
PRACTICE NOTES/QUOTES – Friday, April 20, 2018
SATO AND RAHAL WERE EIGHTH AND TENTH FASTEST IN PRACTICE FOR THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
1st: Josef Newgarden 1:07.4345 / 122.786 mph
8th: Takuma Sato 1:08.0628 / 121.652 mph
10th: Graham Rahal 1:08.1076 / 121.572 mph
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Mi-Jack Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Today was okay. I didn’t think that we were great there in the second practice but if you’re off a little bit, it can make a five, six, seven-spot difference. It’s going to be really tight (in lap time) there tomorrow so we’ve got to work on it and get the car a little better. (On whether qualifying performance is even more important if rain falls during the race:) Qualifying will be important but I think if its rainy, I think you will be able to make moves and you will see a lot of guys make mistakes.”
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “The second session was better. I think we made some good progress from the first one. The first session was a little bit of finding the right direction to go in and it seems we found one. Still we have a little work to be done Saturday. Having said that, there was quite a few yellows and red flags that interrupted the session. I know everyone is in the same boat but our best lap was like a rerun and we were never able to do a long run so it’s a little gray on how we will be for Sunday (in the race). We lost some downforce compared to last year and the tires have quite a good drop off, or degradation, so after you use them the first or second timed lap, the tires are losing a lot of grip. It’s not a huge amount, we’re talking about a small amount, but it’s enough to make a difference. We are trying a different kind of philosophy in terms of the mechanical setup, trying to match the balance and grip level of where we were last year so that’s why everyone is trying different things. Some people struggle, some people find a happy place.”
RLL AT BARBER: The 2018 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will mark the seventh IndyCar Series race for the team at Barber Motorsports Park (BMP). The best finishes for the team came in 2015 and 2016 where RLL and Graham Rahal played a major role in the most exciting races of those seasons and earned second place finishes each year. In addition to Rahal, other drivers to have competed for the team here include Takuma Sato (2012) James Jakes (2013) and Oriol Servia (2014). In 2012, Sato set the third fastest time in Friday’s first practice 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: Final practice will take place tomorrow from 10:50 – 11:35 a.m. CT and qualifying will be 3:05-4:20 PM CT. CNBC will broadcast qualifying beginning at 4 PM ET. The Honda Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live on NBCSN from 3:00-6:00 PM ET Sunday, April 22.
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