Race Report: Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. August 25, 2013—Some days it doesn’t pay to get out of bed in the morning. After Sunday’s Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Takuma Sato may have felt that way. And he probably wasn’t the only one after the crash-filled race which was slowed by seven cautions.
Sato, who started 13th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, got off to a good start in the 85-lap race, picking up two spots on the opening lap. By the time of his first pit stop on lap 18, he was up to ninth. The ABC Supply crew took off the alternate (and softer) compound red-rimmed tires and put on the primary (harder compound black) tires.
The team decided to use the black tires, which have less grip, early so Sato could have the faster red tires for the end of the race. Per the rules, teams must run at least one set of each during the race. On the restart, it was challenging as most of the cars around him had the softer compound tires. However, Sato was holding his own until Graham Rahal spun a couple rows ahead of him.
“We were going into the corner side by side with T.K. [referring to Tony Kanaan but it was actually James Jakes] when Rahal spun and I had nowhere to go and collected him,” said Sato. The contact damaged Sato’s right front suspension requiring it to be replaced as well as the steering arm. The repair took nearly 20 minutes.
“We fixed the car and went back out so we could learn for the future,” Sato explained.