Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing head north of the border this weekend for the Honda Indy Toronto, round 12 of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season following a strong weekend last time out in Iowa where Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack Panasonic Honda finished the race on the podium in third place.
Graham Rahal who this weekend has primary sponsorship from Rousseau Metal Inc finished the Iowa Corn 300 in seventh place. Last year, Graham started the race here from second on the grid but was left frustrated with how the race turned out. Reflecting on what happened here last season, Rahal commented by saying:
It looked like we were going to have a good race last year after starting second. The Rousseau Metal car was solid. We just got really hosed by a yellow that basically put Helio, Pagenaud and myself to the back and we were the lead three so obviously that ruined our day. The car was pretty good though, there were no major complaints. Were we good enough to beat Helio (Castroneves) or (Simon) Pagenaud on that day if we didn’t get hosed by that yellow? I don’t think so but we were certainly a podium contender so it was disappointing not to make it all happen. I’m excited to go back. If I look at our street course performances so far, it’s our strongest package. Hopefully we can just make it happen. Right now we need to get a win and get need to get some points
This weekend’s race is Graham’ Rahal’s 13th event on streets of Toronto and speaking about that he said:
The Honda Indy Toronto is an iconic event in our sport. There is always great crowd support. Nowadays with Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) and with Robbie, I fully expect there to be a ruckus crowd as usual. Hopefully we can go up there and try to spoil their dreams. They repaved a couple of sections which is good, it was needed. I don’t think it’s going to transform the place so it will still be textbook Toronto.
Takuma Sato in No.30 MiJack/Panasonic Honda is hoping he can continue his momentum forward from his third place finish in Iowa last time out. Speaking about Toronto he said:
’m very excited to go back to Toronto. We think we have a good car for a street course and it’s the final street course of the season so I really want to have a strong race and I think we can. We have good momentum right now so I hope we can continue in Toronto. It’s a challenging track
Speaking about road and street courses Sato said:
Toronto is probably one of the bumpiest tracks of the season and is also challenging because the track surface changes multiple times in one corner, from asphalt to concrete. On the engineering side and the driver’s side, it’s always very challenging because no matter what setup you apply, the cars go all over the place. However, it’s a good track. There is a long straight followed by heavy braking which gives the drivers opportunity for overtaking and make the race exciting for the drivers and the spectators. The weather usually is great but it can be sketchy which adds another factor and another reason why the Toronto race is always exciting.
Sato is looking forward to the support of the Toronto crowd he commented by saying:
Toronto is great. It’s a metropolitan city but there are a lot of Japanese communities there as well and Honda Canada makes a huge commitment for the race so we always have great support from them too. I love Toronto. There are great restaurants, a great downtown area and enthusiastic fans which make the Honda Indy a great venue for the IndyCar Series. I’m looking forward to it