Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack/Panasonic Honda set the eighth fastest time overall on the opening day of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday.
The 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner who set a fastest time of 01:08.0628s and speaking following the action he commented by saying:
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.
Sato’s team mate Graham Rahal in the No.15 MiJack Honda ended the day in 10th place overall with a fastest time of 01:08.1076s and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
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.”