Last weekend, qualifying for this year’s edition of the Indianapolis 500 would see Japanese driver Takuma Sato qualify in the top 10. Asian Motorsport reviews Sato’s performance during qualifying for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”

By Seb Tirado

Saturday qualifying

Saturday in Speedway, Indiana would see a six-hour session of 4-lap average-speed qualifying runs to determine positions 13 through 30. 

Takuma Sato on track during qualifying | Credit: Chris Owens / NTT IndyCar Series

Sato’s turn would come just over an hour into the session. His first qualifying attempt would see him achieve an average speed of 232.140mph over his 4 laps to initially qualify 9th on the grid. Over two hours later, Sato would go out a second time after slipping out of the top 12. He would achieve an average speed of 232.473mph to again put him in 9th, progressing him through to the Firestone Fast 12 on Sunday.

Commenting after the session, Sato said that “it was a fantastic achievement for the team. Obviously today we tried our best and we improved at the hottest time of the day and I think the timing was right. So, a huge credit, once again, and a big thank you to the engineers and all the 75 boys and of course, my teammates. [The car] was very loose in the end on our lap but our true performance was a great satisfaction. Once again we need to look at the data closely tonight and try to improve tomorrow.”

The Firestone Fast 12

Takuma Sato pictured ahead of Sunday’s proceedings | Credit: John Cote / NTT IndyCar Series

Sunday qualifying would see one-shot qualifying runs determine positions 7 through 13, with the top 6 going through to the Firestone Fast 6. Sato would be the fourth to make his one and only qualifying run and would achieve an average speed of 232.171mph to provisionally put him 3rd and into the Fast 6. However, Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi would later push Sato out as he put in an average speed of 233.071mph. Sato would ultimately qualify in 10th on the fourth row of the grid.

Despite this, Sato said that “It was a fantastic day for the team. Obviously, as a race driver we always want more, always want to be the best, so we wish we would be in the top-six but today I think considering where we were and where we are, I think we should be very happy. The No. 75 crew did a fantastic job, and all the entire engineering staff for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing did a phenomenal job over the course of the winter so I’m really pleased to put the No. 75 car in the top 10.”

The 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 gets underway this Sunday with the green flag waving at 12:45pm local time.

Header image credit: Joe Skibinski | NTT IndyCar Series

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