The upshot was that Will Power was finally back in the lead, and Graham Rahal had played an excellent strategic recovery as well to put himself in second behind the Australian, splitting Power from his Penske team mate Ryan Briscoe who was in front of the off-colour Dario Franchitti in fourth.
Making up the rest of the top six were Oriol Servia - who had been having a rather quiet and unexciting race relatively speaking, but getting the job done very nicely all the same - and Mike Conway, who had kept plugging away after that electronics problem at the end of Sunday to stage a remarkable recovery in the circumstances.
Conway's sixth place was snatched away by a still-fast Sato in the final laps as the two hour race time limit neared, but Sato then overcooked it in turn 1 and allowed Conway to take back the position and put Justin Wilson back up into seventh at the same time. Sato was able to hold off James Hinchcliffe for eighth, as the Canadian demonstrated that Servia's form was no fluke for Newman-Haas.
Even though the rain was starting to fall again, there were no final lap dramas. Finally the race was run, done and won: Power would claim the trophy ahead of Rahal and Briscoe, and with it a 14pt lead over Dario Franchitti in the championship as the series concludes its opening stint on road and street courses and heads to ovals.
"That was an awesome race, so many different track conditions ... It was a matter of keeping calm, getting past people without making any mistakes and then creating a gap to be safe," summarised Power afterwards. "Being on pole four times and had two wins is a great start [to the season.]"
His main rival for the title, Dario Franchitti, was counting his blessings just making it to the chequered flag at all. "After me making a mistake on the restart, I'm very proud of my Target guys for the front wing change and getting us back out there."
And as for the hero of the middle section of the race, Takuma Sato was disappointed to finish eighth when the morning had briefly promised so much more. "In the end our strategy did not work and in hindsight we should have pitted for fuel during the final caution because we were not in a position to take a gamble," he admitted. "It was a shame we did not make it, but I want to thank the entire team for all their hard work this weekend."
Immediately the chequered flag came out, the teams sprang into action to start breaking down pit lane, pack the equipment and get everything ready to ship back to the United States in time for the build-up to the centennial Indianapolis 500. It might seem that May 29 is an age away, but with so much to do in terms of preparation, practice and qualification before the big day, this single extra day spent in São Paulo couldn't have come at a worse time for the IndyCar teams - but they stuck with it, saw the race out, and the Brazilian crowds showed their support in turn. And in the end, the racing was worth it too.
Full race results and times