Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 SoldierStrong TurnsForTroops Honda had an extremely strong opening day at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Rahal set the fastest time in first practice and second fastest time in second practice.
Speaking following his day in the car, Rahal commented by saying:
First of all, it’s great to be back here. We appreciate everything Roger (Penske) has done here in the city to put this on. Certainly they made some improvements on the track, on the straightaways, which is nice. It’s been a track that’s been good to me in the past. I had a couple podiums here and finished fourth last year in Race 1. Overall, it’s been a place I’ve had some success, which is nice. Obviously today started off on the right foot and the United Rentals car seems to be very strong, very competitive right off the trailer this morning. In the first session, we didn’t even change anything. There was no reason to. Definitely as the track heated up in the afternoon, it got slippery for me. I’m sure everybody will say the same. In fact, on my fastest lap, I was pretty much turning right — supposed to be turning right into Turn 11, but I was looking at the left-hand side wall. I know we had a couple more tenths in it. It’s going to be tricky out there. It’s bumpy. It’s going to beat us up pretty good. We’ll just have to go out there tomorrow and test it. Hopefully the car will be nice and reliable, we’ll get to the end and have a good day.
Oriol Servia in the No.16 Fifth Third Bank Honda ended the day with the 15th combined fastest time of the day, a 01:16.1488s and speaking following his day in the car, he commented by saying:
The first session felt a little more challenging than I expected. I had a very good record at this track and not only had my first podium here but also all top-six finishes and I like this place but I was having a hard time finding the limit of the car. I can only put it down to the whole track being concrete vs. the last time I was here and it was asphalt. Obviously concrete is a lot different and I was having a hard time finding where the grip is but the more laps I did, the more I got used to it. And then the track started gripping up and there was more rubber down so it started to become more normal. Thankfully the Fifth Third Bank car that the team gave me is awesome as we can see by the great job Graham is doing. It’s great to have a reference like that. I’m trying to not make a mistake and use every lap. We were eleventh in Practice 2 and I lost a tenth-of-a-second and a half in the last corner so we would have been seventh. I’m happy with the progress. We are still not at the end of the tunnel but we are getting there. I’m very happy.