Race Report San Paulo 2013

Takuma Sato and No. 14 ABC Supply Team Take IndyCar Point Lead

With Sato’s Brilliant Drive in Brazil

SAO PAULO, Brazil May 5, 2013—Sometimes a driver’s ‘best-driven’ race doesn’t land him in Victory Lane. That was the case today with Takuma Sato who drove a brilliant—and valiant--race to finish second with the ABC Supply Honda in the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300. James Hinchcliffe passed Sato coming off the last corner to claim his second win of the season.

Sato took over the IZOD IndyCar points lead as A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply team heads to Indianapolis as the points leader. The last time Foyt’s team led the IndyCar standings was in 1998 when Kenny Brack won the series title.

Starting 12th, Sato made great moves on the starts and restarts to live up to his philosophy of “No Attack. No Chance.” He picked up positions every time without losing any bodywork – a feat in itself on the streets of Sao Paulo—so that by lap 34 he was leading the race. He pitted four laps later during a caution, but that call was a gamble on the part of Team Foyt who could have stayed out a few more laps as many others did.

That call set up another gamble during a lap 52 caution as the team abandoned their Conserve Fuel strategy, gave up P-6 on the track, ducked in for fuel only—and no tires. When the stops cycled out, however, Sato was in P-4! He moved into the lead on lap 57 for the second time and held off repeated attacks from Josef Newgarden and later Hinchcliffe, both on fresher tires.

In the final 15 laps of the 75-lap race however, the no. 14 car began getting looser with every lap as Sato’s quick hands fought to maintain control and the lead. He managed to do just that until the final turn of the final lap of the race. Hinchcliffe zipped past and took the checkered, while Sato took second and the points lead.

Sato Starts in Sixth Row in Sao Paulo

SAO PAULO, Brazil May 4, 2013—Takuma Sato qualified 12th in the ABC Supply Honda Saturday afternoon on the streets of Sao Paulo as the field was set for the Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300.

Sato advanced out of the first round of knockout qualifying where he was fifth quickest of the 12 cars in his group. However, in the second round, Sato was only able to post a time of 1:21.36 for a speed of 112.210mph around the 2.53-mile, 11-turn temporary circuit. He will line up alongside J.R. Hildebrand. It is the second time this season he will start 12th.

“A difficult day for us,” said Sato. “We couldn’t pick up the good speed and balance. We lost something.  It was very difficult to get it all put together. It’s a shame. The guys have been working very hard but we just couldn’t find the good grip and balance.  Tonight we’ll review everything and hopefully we’ll find improvements for the race.”

There were two practice sessions earlier in the day. Sato was eighth in the first session and dropped to 16th in the second session.

Notes & Quotes: Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle

TAKUMA SATO SPEAKS …

On the Sao Paulo street circuit: “It’s quite a unique track I think. It has one of the longest straightaways in the series and it’s followed by a tight hairpin, which requires heavy braking -- and that means there are always lots of overtaking opportunities. It’s seriously bumpy on the straightaway but otherwise straightforward as the back sections of track are a good combination of slow, technical corners with a relatively smooth surface. I like the rhythm of this track.”

On the key factor to success at Sao Paulo: “Finding a balance between good top speed and strong braking stability as there is so much stop-and-go because of such a long straight.” [Front straight is 1.5km or .93 mile; back straight is 1.25 km or .77 mile]

On his strong runs in Sao Paulo: “2011 was great for me because it was a wet race, it was my first time to run the wet tires in the IndyCar Series and I felt comfortable immediately. Last year was another great race for me with good calls in the race and, having a competitive car, I had opportunities to catch the leaders and gain positions because of the many restarts because there were quite a few yellows.”

On making the Firestone Fast Six twice in the last three races: “It’s just that the team has been working so well with me. We've been making the ABC car fast very successfully most of times-- even if we struggled at some stage in the practice sessions, we always came back strongly in qualifying so I can commit 100% all the time.”

On what he likes about Brazil: “The fans, they are very enthusiastic! The food, the Churrasco is just fantastic! Good memories of racing! I love it.”