1) Takuma Sato 1:08.5934 / 120.711 mph (Group 2, Round 3)
2) Graham Rahal 1:08.6971 / 120.529 mph (Group 2, Round 3)
GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 One Cure Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Awesome day here at Barber for everybody at RLL. For Takuma and I to lock out the front row, it takes a lot of effort behind the scenes. Everyone has put a ton into this and they feel rewarded to see this sort of result. Obviously the job is not done. We’ve got a long day ahead of us but I do know we can race well here and I do know that starting up front will be a heck of a lot easier than where we’ve started before. I feel super-excited. We’re going to try to get this One Cure car in victory lane tomorrow. I think overall we got a little bit better everywhere. The one sector might still be a little bit not perfect, I would say, maybe a little thorn in our side. But I think the guys did a tremendous job today. This morning, our time and our finishing position, which ended up in the gravel, is not indicative of our pace, and we felt that. Did we feel we had the front row locked out? Probably not. But the really good sign of this I think is that our cars are clearly pretty consistent with tire wear from the first run to the second run on those reds. I’m excited. I think we’re in a good position as we go forward. I think we’ve had good races here in the past, but we’ve never started anywhere near here. Hopefully tomorrow can be a pretty straightforward, really strong day for us.”
TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “This is absolutely a team effort. To make it a 1-2, this is a dream result. The engineers work so hard along with the boys. Fantastic efforts. I’m really proud of them. (Are you surprised by this result?) Yes. Very much so. This is my first road course pole position. I had done it on a street course but not a road course. I dreamed for ages to do this. Today I think everything came together and I’m so thankful to the whole team. Today is only Saturday qualifying and we won the pole which is good, but the big test is coming tomorrow. And of course most of the competitive teams that didn’t make it to the top six will be charging for sure tomorrow. It’s going to be a big challenge for us but starting 1-2 is a perfect scenario for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and I’m very happy for the team.”
BOBBY RAHAL, team co-owner: “I tell you, a great performance today by the team all weekend, really. It was a little bit up and down yesterday, but today, I think they called the tires right at the right time, everybody got a clear track, and in the end, it was all about how fast can you go. When I looked at that group that Takuma (Sato) and Graham (Rahal) were in, every strong guy in the series was in that group and to beat those guys today and be on the front row is definitely a plus. We’ve got to feel pretty excited about tomorrow and I told Takuma and Graham, ‘Let’s get through Turn 1 and then we’ll go racing.’”
RLL AT BARBER: Prior to today’s 1-2 qualifying result, the team previously locked out the front row of an Indy car race in the September 11, 2005 race at Chicagoland when Danica Patrick won pole and Buddy Rice started second. The 2019 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will mark the eighth 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. The team’s previous best start was sixth by Rahal in 2016.
NEXT UP: Pre-race warmup will take place tomorrow from 11:10 – 11:40 a.m. CT. The Honda Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live on NBCSN from 3:00-6:00 PM ET Sunday, April 7.