Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda was delighted with the progress that the team made on Thursday as he ended the third day of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ahead of next weekend’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil as the fastest driver.

Rahal, who completed 102 laps set a fastest speed of 226.047MPH and speaking following his day in the car he said:

Today was definitely a better day, for sure. From the get-go, I knew that yesterday we didn’t put in any effort to actually put in a decent lap. I found myself all day yesterday in the middle of the pack. It’s impossible to put up a number from that position. Then, clearly everybody starts questioning, worried, this and that, so there was a lot of reason and motivation to go and try to put together a decent one today. It was obviously our second lap. I went out, I was trying to do a qualifying simulation. I just went out, a bunch of guys came out. Stefan Wilson came out in front of me. He was at the end of the back straight as I was going out of Turn 2. I thought, ‘For once I’m just going to do this, just stay in it.’ Not normally my MO, but I thought I might as well put a good one up there, at least lower my dad’s blood pressure for the night, Lanigan and everybody. It was a solid run. We tried another qualifying sim. Every qualifying sim I did today, everybody came out in front of me. I didn’t get a qual sim today. Not a single one. Hopefully Mother Nature will be nice to us tomorrow. The good thing about that is we didn’t use very many tires today. A lot of other guys did. We should be pretty tire rich tomorrow if we need to go after it. We’ll see how it goes.

Oriol Servia in the No.64 Scuderia Corsa/Manitowoc Honda was 16th fastest with a speed of 223.641MPH and speaking following his day in the car the Spaniard said:

“We really didn’t have the day we planned, in the sense that for the afternoon session we had a lot of things we wanted to try, but we didn’t have a chance to. The morning session went really well. We did a couple of good, solid runs on our own to start getting the setup for qualifying, so that was good. But then, in the afternoon we had a couple of little mechanical issues that kept us from being on track. Luckily, our teammates were out there doing a lot of laps and doing some testing for us, so we should gather all the information with all the engineers and I’m sure we will put the best package together. The important thing is its only Thursday, tomorrow is Fast Friday. Tomorrow will be a really good indication of where we stand in terms of our own speed for qualifying. I think we should be in decent shape.”

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato in the No.30 MiJack/Panasonic Honda ended the day in 33rd place with a fastest speed of 221.776MPH and speaking following the session he said:

“We did a qualifying sim, four short ones actually. One was reasonably successful and the other three I had to abort due to the balance of the car. We were struggling to find speed on qualifying simulation. And then, in the later afternoon, we went back to the race trim and carried over the positives from yesterday, and I felt that was good, but today turned out to be a really difficult day. I struggled a lot with grip, speed and balance. We will have a look at the data. Tomorrow will be a completely different day. We bump up the boost, which I’m quite excited about, but before that, I think we need to really understand what happened today.”

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