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2018 Long Beach: Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar Qualifying Recap
Posted by: newsla on Apr 15, 2018 - 02:42 PM
IndyCar Weekend Team Reports
2018 Long Beach: Rahal Letterman Lanigan IndyCar Qualifying Recap


RAHAL MATCHED HIS BEST STARTING POSITION AT THE TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH OF FIFTH PLACE; SATO LIMITED TO A 22ND PLACE START AFTER BATTLING TRAFFIC

 
1) Alexander Rossi 1:06.5528 / 106.454 mph (Round 3, Group 2)

5) Graham Rahal 1:07.1275 / 105.542 mph (Round 3, Group 1)

22) Takuma Sato 1:08.6340 / 103.226 mph (Round 1, Group 2)

GRAHAM RAHAL, No. 15 Total Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “We snuck into the Fast Six here last year. I’m awfully proud of the Total team for all of their hard work. We were awful in St. Pete and if that’s your last baseline on a street course you never know what you’re going to get when you come into a weekend like this. Tom and the boys have done a fantastic job to put together a really good car. Obviously we didn’t have that ultimate pace that some of the others did but we’ve got tires for days for the race. Strategy wise I think the race is going to be a lot more fun for the fans to watch because this isn’t just going to be a fuel mileage race which it historically is because the new car is so much more fuel efficient so you’re going to be able to run this race on two stops so I think it’s going to be a lot more fun. Hopefully we can go to battle and win this thing.”

· FAST FACTS: Matched his best start here of fifth place in 2007 today… Will be his 12th Champ or Indy car race here and 13th overall … His top finish is second place in 2013 with RLL after starting 11th and top start is fifth in 2007 with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and he finished eighth after slow fuel flow pit strategy… A recap of results is available upon request... In the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic Series race here he started seventh and finished fifth… Has SIX IndyCar Series wins (2008 – St. Pete street course; 2015 – Fontana Super Speedway, Mid-Ohio road course; 2016 – Texas Super Speedway; 2017 Detroit Race 1, Detroit Race 2) and THREE poles (2009 – St. Pete street course, Kansas oval; 2017 – Detroit Race 1 street) and his highest series season-ending standing is fourth place in 2015. He is currently ranked fourth in 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series standings with 63 points.

TAKUMA SATO, No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Qualifying was disappointing. On the first lap, I was kind of held up in traffic and never got the temperature in the tires. Then on the second lap there was another local yellow flag in Turn 1. After that I caught up to Marco and was behind him the entire lap so I couldn’t go faster. That was it. It was very disappointing. Hopefully we have a strong race car so we can try to go through the field.”

· FAST FACTS: He made contact in Turn 1 at the end of Practice 2 and the session ended under a red flag. The race car sustained damage to the right side… Will be his 9th race here… His highest start and finish here came in 2013 with A.J. Foyt Enterprises when he led 50 laps and won from a fourth place start. The race prior to that was with RLL in 2012 and he led 16 laps and was third when he was hit by Hunter-Reay on the final lap and finished eighth after starting eighth. His other top-10 start came in 2016 with Foyt (8th) and other top-10 finish was fifth in 2016, also with Foyt... Has TWO IndyCar Series wins (2013 – Long Beach street course, 2017 – Indy 500 oval) and SEVEN poles (2011 Iowa oval, Edmonton street; 2013 Houston Race 1 street; 2014 St. Pete street, Detroit Race 2 street; 2017 Detroit Race 2, Pocono oval). He is currently ranked 12th in series point standings with 37 points.

3 POLES, 6 PODIUMS FOR RLL IN 18 INDY CAR RACES AT LONG BEACH: This marks the 19th time for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete in the main event. In total, the team has won three poles (Herta 1998, Vasser 2002, Jourdain, Jr. 2003); made five front row starts including an all-Team Rahal front row in 1998 (2nd – Rahal 1998, Brack 2001); earned their best finish of second place four times (Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002, G. Rahal 2013) and earned six podiums here (2nd - Rahal 1992-1993, Vasser 2002 & G. Rahal 2013; 3rd - Herta 1998-1999). Although the team didn’t compete in Indy car races here from 2004-2011 while they fielded a fulltime entry in the Indy Racing League (2004-2008), they did compete in the 2003 and 2004 Atlantic races with Danica Patrick and in the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race. In 2009, the team returned to the streets of Long Beach in the GTLM class of the ALMS with BMW Team RLL and has finished on the podium each year but 2016 and 2017 although they started from pole in 2016 and led in 2017 before an electrical issue forced them to fall back. Despite not finishing on the podium the past two years, Long Beach is the most successful venue for the team on the current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule. The team has won the race three times (2011, 2013 and 2015), has eight podium finishes and started from pole five out of nine years.

NEXT UP: The pre-race warmup will take place tomorrow from 9-9:30 a.m. PT and the 85-lap Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

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