Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing had a fantastic day in race one of the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader on Belle Isle on Saturday after Takuma Sato in the No.30 Panasonic MiJack Honda finished the race in fourth place and was fighting up front all day.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 Fifth Third Bank Honda also had a great day as he came home in fifth place having started the race from 20th place coming through the field to score a great result for the team.
Santino Ferrucci in the No.45 Hy-Vee Cheetos Honda who is back with the team this weekend following a strong Indianapolis 500 came from 21st on the grid to finish the event in sixth place. Speaking following the race, Piers Phillips, President of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing said:
Well, what a day. We definitely had some challenges in qualifying, so to bring all three cars home fourth, fifth and sixth is a credit to the team. I think it’s a credit to the guys that drove them [Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato and Santino Ferrucci], particularly in the difficult conditions we had today. But now the focus is on tomorrow [and the second race] and the goal is to finish one-two-three rather than four-five-six.
Takuma Sato commented following the race saying:
Little bit crazy of race as usual in Detroit, which I think is really exciting. For us it was a bit of a shame after we made a really good start. I felt the team was fantastic just overtaking cars and obviously the tires had more degradation than the blacks but I was able to get in front of Dixon and get up to P2 just behind Will so I was very happy with that. And then after that, on the first pit stop we had an issue on the mechanical side which was a shame we have to look into that, we lost 4-5 seconds which allowed a couple cars to pass so I had to overtake again. Then the red flag came and it was very unfortunate for Will Power. It was his race today. I had a really great opportunity for the restart but I didn’t have great traction coming out of the last corner and it allowed Veekay to get inside in Turn 1 and I got into marbles and then that was it. But for where we started to finish fourth, fifth, sixth as a team definitely looked good with great speed in the race which is exactly what we needed for today to gather great data for tomorrow’s qualifying and race too.
Graham Rahal commented on his race saying;
The Fifth Third Bank car was very competitive today. I’m glad we were able to fight our way through and then on that last restart make up a couple of spots. The boys did an excellent job. I’m quite sweaty and am going to sleep well tonight but the gents in the pits did an excellent job. Tonight we have a wardrobe change and go to the United Rentals car tomorrow. But today the Fifth Third Bank guys did an excellent job and, points wise, made up some on some guys, lost some to others, but that’s racing. Our pace was good, it was good to leap frog Rossi, stay ahead of Herta and some of the guys and in the end put ourselves in contention on that last restart. But the rears were just gone on the reds, we tried to make them last 18 laps and it was just a little bit too much to ask. On to tomorrow, here we go
Santino Ferrucci commented on his race saying:
A P6 finish from the back. At one point we were supposed to be in the top three for sure but the first yellow caught us out. Thankfully Felix is okay. I’m happy to rebound from the back again. It’s great for the team finishing fourth, fifth and sixth so a great day for RLL.