Sato Keeps Rahal On Top In Phoenix
Takuma Sato made sure that Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing remained top of the time sheets after day 2 of the open Verizon IndyCar Series test at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
The 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner set a combined fastest time over Saturday’s session of 19.3790s ending the day just ahead of Team Penske’s Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet.
Speaking following the opening session on Saturday afternoon, Power commented by saying:
It’s been good. Definitely gone through all the processes and tried to do some qualifying simulations, because that’s what time we’ll be qualifying the car when we come back in April. Really enjoying this car, the 2018 car is awesome. Our No. 12 Verizon Chevy’s been pretty good the whole time, we just had the wrong gears in yesterday when we did our qualifying run. We’re really in a good window, I feel like. So are a lot of people, by the look of it.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Co Chevrolet had another great day on Saturday as the Brazilian finished the session in third place.
Defending series champion Josef Newgarden in the No.1 Hitachi Chevrolet ended the session in fourth place for Team Penske and speaking following the session, the Tennessee native commented by saying:
It was OK. We’re still learning today. These are valuable sessions. I think we made a little more progress now and I’m excited to get going at night. I’m ready to run a little bit more in the No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda had another great day as he finished the session in fifth place and speaking following the action he commented by saying:
Today has been OK. I think the car has pace, but we have some work to do to get it just right to come back here. So far it’s been a tremendous start for the team overall, and I’m excited to get back here and go racing. It’s far more fun to come back here and know you have a shot at it than years past, so I’m excited about that
Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete with Curb Honda ended the session in sixth place and speaking following his time in the car, Andretti commented by saying:
We only ran one set of tires in the afternoon session, but it feels like progress. We hope we’ve found a good direction to head in for the evening session and the U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda will be on top
Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda ended the session in seventh place and speaking following the session, he commented by saying:
It was a good afternoon. We found some stuff that worked and we need to continue in the evening. We’ve done half our checklist, we’ll finish it tonight and see where the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda stands
Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda ended the session in eighth place just ahead of Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet. Speaking following the session, the Frenchman commented by saying:
It was good. Today we were doing some experiments. Yesterday we were very happy with the car in general. Today is a different day. We need to experiment to have a broader feel about this aero package. I wouldn’t say it was better, but it was interesting to learn. So, so far, so good. I think we’re on the right path of learning in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet and doing our homework. We’re having quite cool temperatures, which it won’t be like that on the race weekend. We have to be cautious. We’re still having a lot of fun out there. I’ll be doing some more traffic running tonight to get a better feel of how it will be at a race.
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda rounded out the top ten and speaking following the session he commented by saying;
We made some good gains in the No. 28 DHL Honda overnight. We continued to work on setup for overall balance and I think we find ourselves in a position where we’re two or three changes away now. We’re P4 to end what would be, I think, a qualifying simulation session, so it’s a good start for when we come back. Now we’ll focus on race running tonight.
Sebastien Bourdais ended the session in 11th place just ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ed Jones in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda.
Speaking following the session he commented by saying:
I think we turned at or around 70 laps in the NTT Data car in the afternoon session today which was some good, solid running. We logged a lot of good laps and I’m starting to feel better after yesterday. We made a lot of changes to the car as well, which all seemed to go in the right direction, which I’m happy about. I think the car felt a bit more comfortable and we got up to around sixth, with Scott (Dixon) around third. We still have much more work to do, but I feel we’re heading in the right direction.
AJ Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist was 13th fastest just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot. Speaking following the session, Pigot commented by saying:
We are still working on getting more speed out of the car. I am looking forward to running in more race-like conditions tonight and getting more experience with that. We’ve got a good plan going into this evening and I’m ready to get back to work.
Pierto Fittipaldi in the No.19 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing ended the session in 15th place just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Robert Wickens.
Wickens commented after the session saying:
So far so good. I’m feeling more and more comfortable with every session here at ISM Raceway, so that’s nice. It seems like we can’t really improve from 13th (laughs). We’ve been 13th in every session so far, I think. At least I’m feeling more comfortable; I think the car is going in the right direction. I’m looking forward to this last night session in the Lucas Oil Honda.
Zach Veach who will run the No.26 Honda for Andretti Autosport ended the session in 16th place and speaking following his time in the car, he commented by saying:
Good afternoon session in the No. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda just trying some of our test items. I’m just gaining experience and laps still at this point. I think we’re looking pretty good with what we have, so I’m excited for this evening.
Carlin Racing’s Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton ended the session in 17th and 18th place respectively. Speaking following the session, Kimball commented by saying:
It’s been another productive session with the No. 23 Tresiba Chevy team. There are things we’re still working out, even just fundamentals with the new car, but we’re making progress every time we make a run. It will be valuable to finally have this data and start building from here. Overall, I’m just so encouraged and excited about this team and what we can accomplish this season. It’s step by step, and I know everyone at Carlin is pushing hard to be competitive from Lap 1
Max Chilton commented by saying:
ts been a good couple of testing days here in Phoenix. We had a lot to learn coming into this weekend and I think we were able to make loads of progress. We’re still battling the same balance issues we had yesterday, but we were able to get quite a few things sorted out this afternoon and find some pace. The No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet looks great on track and it’s been a solid few days for the whole Carlin team. I’m looking forward to getting back out out there tonight and getting our race setup to where it needs to for the night race.
Gabby Chaves in the No.88 Harding Racing Chevrolet ended the session in 20th place just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s team owner Ed Carpenter. Speaking following his session, Carpenter commented by saying:
We certainly accomplished more in this session than we did in yesterday’s first session, but we just aren’t there on speed yet. Fortunately, we have another three hours yet this evening to work on dialing in our set ups.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Honda was 22nd just ahead of Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser who rounded out the order in 23rd place.