IndyCar »

Rahal delighted to land Sato for 2012

Bobby Rahal says that he is excited to have signed up former F1 driver Takuma Sato for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, and that he hopes to run a second car in 2012.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan might be somewhat behind the curve when it comes to getting out on track and testing ahead of the start of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series next month, but the team got a major boost last week with confirmation that Takuma Sato would be their lead driver for the year.

"I'm excited that Taku has joined us," said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. "I had a chance to see Taku not when he first started racing but when he was Europe in England in Formula 3 in 2001 when I was over there with Jaguar F1. I managed to watch Takuma win a lot of Formula 3 races: I think Formula 3 has always been considered a very good judge of talent.

"I kept an eye on him when he was in F1, so I've known his competitiveness, his speed - I've seen that many times over the years," he continued. "He's shown his pace over the last couple years in IndyCars ... When we reentered IndyCar racing, it was important for us to do so with someone who was going to be competitive - I had no real interest in just being here. Taku certainly fits that bill."

Sato moved to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010 with KV Racing Technology after seven seasons in F1 with Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri. He had a strong second season in IndyCar in 2011 and became the first-ever Japanese driver to claim pole position in the series. He went on to earn earn three top-five finishes, seven top-10s and lead 61 laps on his way to a 13th place finish in the point standings.

"Taku spent a lot of time in England, so he's got a lot of English slang and colloquialisms," added Rahal. "It's almost like being back in England when you're around him!"

"My expectation is ever so high, I was very confident we could do a great job this year," said Sato when asked why he had opted to leave KVRT for RLL. "I've known [this deal] is going to be happen from the very early stage of the end of the season last year, so I'm extremely pleased.

"They showed great speed last year every single time they were entering IndyCar," added Sato of his new team. "When I discussed with Bobby how it's going to operate with the new team, I was very excited."

Now they have a top-name driver on board, Rahal admitted that RLL urgently needs to get up to speed with pre-season preparations and set-up: "We have testing to do yet," he said. "We've done a little bit already in December which went I think pretty well. So I think everybody's just anxious to get going."

Rahal also confirmed that the team still hopes to add a second car to the team line-up for 2012, although it hasn't been confirmed and everyone's staying tight-lipped about which drivers might be in the frame for the seat if it happens.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Takuma Sato in the #5 at Edmonton. [Daniel Incandela for IndyCar Media]
Takuma Sato celebrates his maiden IndyCar Series pole - the first time a Japanese driver has ever claimed pole position in the series. [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Pippa Mann sits in her car in pitlane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Bobby Rahal watches on from pit road [Photo Credit: IndyCar Media]
Takuma Sato will start from the pole position after winning the Verizon P1 Award. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato will start from the pole position after winning the Verizon P1 Award. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato will start from the pole position after winning the Verizon P1 Award. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt after winning pole. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt after winning pole. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato with the Verizon P1 Award. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato in action in qualifying at St Petersburg. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Takuma Sato in St. Pete -- Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media
Takuma Sato in St. Pete -- Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media
Takuma Sato in St. Petersburg (Photo Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal in car (Photo Credit: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Will Power, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, Takuma Sato, Mike Conway, Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal (Photo Credit: John Hendrick for IndyCar Media)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.