Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 Total Honda said he was happy with his result in Sunday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach despite been penalised for blocking Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon on the final lap of the race.
Rahal who started the race from sixth was running in third on the final lap of the event when he was called for blocking Dixon and as a result he lost the podium place to the Iceman.
Speaking following the race he said:
It’s not that tough (of a pill) to swallow; we were going to lose the spot anyway. My front (tires) were absolutely gone. Those were used reds (Firestone alternate tires). We should have gone to new blacks (Firestone primary tires) there at the end. My tires were absolutely shot. I had no braking grip whatsoever, but I moved right as quick as I could out of the corner and then I gave him a lane. By the rules you’re allowed to make your move, which I did on the exit of the corner. That was it. We’re just going to have to discuss it (with the officials). Look, I’m not like upset about it. We had a good day. Our car wasn’t great today, but it was decent and the TOTAL Oil team pushed hard. That’s all we can say. Did I block? Yes, I blocked; you’re allowed to block in this series. You’re allowed to make a move, (and) I made a move. That’s allowed, I mean that’s allowed. I didn’t go back to the left; there’s a lane to the left. He had overtake (remaining), I didn’t. If he wanted to go (there) he could go. But, I don’t know, we’ll discuss it with the officials.” (About how he would feel if he was in Scott Dixon’s position): “You would try the exact same, there’s no doubt. I think I played the rules as I see them fit. Did I block? Yeah, I take full (credit). Yeah, I blocked, but you’re allowed to in this series, and if they don’t want blocks, they should say you can’t make a move at all and just change the rule. The problem is, we see such large discrepancies in what is a block (and) what is not a block. It’s fine; we just need to go further and understand (the rule) a little better. At the end of the day, P4. Do we deserve P3? Probably, but you know what, it was a good day and good points for us. We haven’t had a lot of luck this season, so I’ll just take it as it is and move on.”
Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack Panasonic Honda started Sunday’s race from eighth place and that is where he finished the event.
Speaking following the race, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race winner said:
“It was a tough race, no moves really. I got off the line P8 and had a good battle with Simon (Pagenaud) in the first two stints. We tried to undercut on the second stop but unfortunately instead we lost a place to Will (Power) and that was it. There were no yellows (flags) and I tried everything I could, but it was difficult to get the balance. We had to go to the black (Firestone primary) tire in the end (stint) because we knew the reds (Firestone alternate) were faster, but we just couldn’t get the balance. We will have a road course and speedway test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Month of May is always exciting. We are carrying good momentum now, so hopefully we have a good, strong test that we can transfer to good results.”