Sato Ends His Final Qualifying With Andretti Autosport As The Fastest Honda

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Andretti Autosport’s Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato in the No.26 Dickinson Fleet Services Honda will start his final race for the team at Sonoma Raceway today from fifth place on the grid.

The Japanese driver ended the day as best of the rest behind the four Penske drivers setting a 01:16.2208s and starts the race just ahead of Scott Dixon.

Speaking following the session, Sato commented by saying:

t was a fantastic feeling. Obviously, the fifth position isn’t pole position but I think looking at the speed of the competitors, we achieved what we could do. I think certainly, the entire Andretti Autosport and No. 26 guys did a enormous, fantastic job so I’m really happy with them we got it done all together.

Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda just missed out on a place in the Firestone Fast 6 and will start the race from seventh place on the grid. Speaking after setting a time of 01:16.1815s he commented by saying:

We were just on the wrong side of it today, eight-hundredths of a second would have put us through [to the Firestone Fast Six]. We made a couple changes to try and calm the rear down a bit, but I think we ended up taking some speed out of the DHL car. It’s such a fine line in the Verizon IndyCar Series, especially at Sonoma with how close the competition is. We’re just barely on the outside – eight-hundredths of a second.

Alexander Rossi in the No.98 NAPA Auto Parts with Curb Honda starts the race from eighth place after setting a time of 01:16.1934s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:

I think we could have been fifth or sixth. We had a braking issue present itself overnight, so the last session was pretty difficult. We didn’t learn anything, didn’t gain anything from Friday to Saturday so we were on the back foot a little bit coming into qualifying. After our pace in Q1, I thought we could transfer into the [Firestone] Fast Six. We missed it by a couple hundredths [of a second], and again the braking issue kind of came back a little bit. But despite that, the NAPA AUTO PARTS car will roll off from a decent spot tomorrow.

Marco Andretti in the No.27 United Fiber and Data Honda starts the race from 11th place on the grid after setting a fastest time of 01:16.8221s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:

We made it through the first round pretty strongly, and I think we had the speed and could have been right there with my teammates – but I locked it up coming into [Turn] 4 and that was enough to lose some ground. It’s on me. When the competition and the times are this close, every little bit can make a big difference.

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